\ ˈwiŋk How to pronounce wink (audio) \
winked; winking; winks

Definition of wink

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to shut one eye briefly as a signal or in teasing
2 : to close and open the eyelids quickly
3 : to avoid seeing or noting something usually used with at
4 : to gleam or flash intermittently : twinkle her glasses winking in the sunlight— Harper Lee
5a : to come to an end usually used with out
b : to stop shining usually used with out
6 : to signal a message with a light

transitive verb

1 : to cause to open and shut
2 : to affect or influence by or as if by blinking the eyes



Definition of wink (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a brief period of sleep : nap catching a wink
2a : a hint or sign given by winking
b : an act of winking
3 : the time of a wink : instant quick as a wink
4 : a flicker of the eyelids : blink

Synonyms for wink

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of wink in a Sentence

Verb He winked and said that he understood. She winked at me as she asked what I was doing tonight. She winked an eye at me. The puppy was winking in the bright sun. The stars winked in the night sky. The airplane's landing lights winked on and off. Noun Her wink told me she was just kidding. “I knew you could do it,” he said with a wink.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Wilson and MacArthur proposed that the keys to understanding island biogeography are the rate at which new species immigrate to an island (or evolve there) and the rate at which established species wink out. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 25 Oct. 2021 If anything, his entire public life seems to have been one long nod and wink with the public. Tom Mctague, The Atlantic, 4 Oct. 2021 Drink responsibly, the ads wink, without ever explaining the toll that frequent or excessive alcohol use exacts, particularly at certain stages in life. Anchorage Daily News, 25 July 2021 This fabled 125-mile stretch of road runs alongside a slender tendril of water called Turnagain Arm before ascending into the dramatic Chugach and Kenai Mountains, where ancient glaciers wink through summertime greenery. Katie Pesznecker, Anchorage Daily News, 28 June 2021 The prominence of corporate lobbyists in the new administration all but assures that Biden, like Barack Obama, will wink and nod as Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google acquire or crush competitors . . . Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 25 June 2021 The unlikelihood of success is not a reason to wink at the audience but rather a reason to root for their victory and hold our breath when defeat seems imminent. Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 24 June 2021 Light from a half moon glimmered in the waves, and stars began to wink in from the growing darkness. oregonlive, 23 June 2021 The larger stakes are whether the Supreme Court will wink as America divides in ways that have proved so destructive in the past. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 24 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Out in the countryside, villages are still run by de facto councils of local menfolk, whose handshake deals and wink-nudge gambling debts carry more weight than the strict rule of law. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 22 Nov. 2021 But something else is lost, too: the irony or wry, gothic humor, the self-subverting postmodern wink. Washington Post, 10 Nov. 2021 Tobe Hooper’s opening sequence is less a sly wink to Halloween than a blunt elbow to the ribs. Gem Seddon, Vulture, 29 Oct. 2021 There were mini tutus splashed in polka dots (a wink to Herrera’s spring 2020 collection) and 1950s prom dress-esque circle skirts in peppy pinks and yellows. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, 28 Oct. 2021 The ice cream truck sequence is almost certainly a wink at Trees Lounge, where Buscemi’s character was also attacked while driving an ice cream truck (albeit for very different reasons than Tony’s victim here). Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 1 Oct. 2021 The poster of Dana Scully in Riley's childhood bedroom is, perhaps, a clever wink to their relationship: Riley is the Scully to Erin's Mulder, the skeptic paired with someone who wants to believe. Kristen Baldwin,, 23 Sep. 2021 And from Bosh, there is almost a wink to how this is nothing new at 601 Biscayne Boulevard. Ira Winderman,, 10 July 2021 Offering an alternative to connecting through avatars and teleporting, Icelandverse Zuck extolls the virtues of the tangible world with a winning wink and nod. Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, Forbes, 12 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wink.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of wink


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wink


Middle English, from Old English wincian; akin to Old High German winchan to stagger, wink and perhaps to Latin vacillare to sway, Sanskrit vañcati he goes crookedly

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Time Traveler for wink

Time Traveler

The first known use of wink was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near wink



wink at

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Statistics for wink

Cite this Entry

“Wink.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for wink



English Language Learners Definition of wink

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to close and open one eye quickly as a signal to someone
: to close and open your eyes quickly : blink
: to shine in an unsteady way : twinkle



English Language Learners Definition of wink (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of closing and opening one eye very quickly often as a way of giving a secret signal or private message to someone
: a very short amount of time


\ ˈwiŋk How to pronounce wink (audio) \
winked; winking

Kids Definition of wink

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to close and open one eye quickly as a signal or hint
2 : to close and open the eyelids quickly : blink



Kids Definition of wink (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a hint or sign given by closing and opening one eye quickly
2 : a brief period of sleep
3 : an act of closing and opening usually one eye quickly
4 : a very short time I'll be back in a wink.


intransitive verb
\ ˈwiŋk How to pronounce wink (audio) \

Medical Definition of wink

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to close and open the eyelids quickly



Medical Definition of wink (Entry 2 of 2)

: a quick closing and opening of the eyelids : blink

More from Merriam-Webster on wink

Nglish: Translation of wink for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wink for Arabic Speakers


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