\ 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

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Synonyms for wink

Synonyms: Verb


Synonyms: Noun

catnap, doze, drowse, forty winks, kip [chiefly British], nap, siesta, snooze

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Examples of wink in a Sentence


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.


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

On a show that loves its meta jokes as much as Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the temptation to wink at the camera about the recasting could have been overwhelming. Constance Grady, Vox, "How Crazy Ex-Girlfriend pulled off recasting Greg, one of its biggest characters," 12 Dec. 2018 If womanhood is a performance, then the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling are sneaking something true through all the layers of ridiculousness, an arch sensibility that winks to everybody with eyes to see and ears to hear. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "GLOW season 2 is less than the sum of its parts. But those parts are amazing.," 29 June 2018 Ferragni’s brand, which has an emoji-like winking eye as its signature motif, is now carried in more than 400 stores, including flagships in Milan, Paris, and Shanghai, and generates $25 million in annual revenue. Alison S. Cohn, Harper's BAZAAR, "Chiara Ferragni's Secret to Winning on Social Media," 18 Apr. 2019 The essay describes a sensibility marked by performance, excess, and a kind of winking bad taste, exemplified by figures like Oscar Wilde and outré aesthetic movements such as Art Nouveau. Vogue, "Met Gala 2019: Everything You Need to Know," 9 Apr. 2019 But there, winking out from the scarlet cushions of the sofa, is a persimmon pillow embroidered with a rabbit. Stellene Volandes, ELLE Decor, "Jeweler Antonia Miletto Leads a Fairy-Tale Existence in Her 16th-Century Townhouse in Venice," 17 Apr. 2019 That fat little butternut squash at Trader Joe's winked at me. Judy Walker,, "Raid the pantry, fridge to turn basic soup recipe into homemade comfort food," 9 Jan. 2018 The acting is appropriately playful, as Bacon and Ward convey an awareness of the picture’s silliness without winking at the audience or condescending to the material. Jason Bailey, New York Times, "10 Movies to Fill the ‘Jurassic’-Sized Hole in Your Heart," 11 June 2018 Oh and Samberg winked at this quote during their opening monologue, and Gaga responded in good spirits. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "The Biggest Moments From the 2019 Golden Globes," 6 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

At his '80s best, a single Cruise wink-and-smile could melt the hearts of just about any watcher of shameless, crowd-pleasing films like Cocktail and Top Gun. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Mission: Impossible – Fallout review: Fall into Cruise’s best in years," 27 July 2018 Cosell's pronunciation is sure to bring winks and smiles to the Mets' crowd. Ben Walker,, "Howard Cosell's grandson debuts as Mets' PA announcer," 2 June 2018 This is a nice little wink to viewers, who know in a way Adora doesn’t that this statement has two meanings. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Pointed Observations About Sharp Objects Episode 4," 30 July 2018 The look was equal parts fiery and elegant, with ruffles cascading down the front and a cape trailing in the back, but the see-through element was a wink to Miley's signature risqué style. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Miley Cyrus Stuns in a Sheer Valentino Gown on the Red Carpet Without Liam Hemsworth," 12 Feb. 2019 The result is text that — with a wink at the viewer — presents itself as a little fussy and absurd, just like the characters in the movie. Eliza Brooke, Vox, "Sorry to Bother You," 12 Nov. 2018 Standing nearby is another little wink from Andrew, a little boy named Deegan Scott wearing Batman shoes and a super man's jersey. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: Andrew Smith's legacy lives on through 4-year-old boy saved by a Butler teammate," 17 Feb. 2018 But Johnson — with perhaps a wink and nudge from officials from the judge on down — was able to slip out of the country before being sentenced. Gregory Korte, USA TODAY, "Trump grants posthumous pardon to former heavyweight champion Jack Johnson," 24 May 2018 While primping for the award show, the Westworld star displayed her voluminous, diffused curls defining her face, dramatic smokey topaz eyeshadow with a wink, while her makeup artist applied a soft pink lipstick with a lip brush. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Best Celebrity Instagrams From The 2019 Golden Globes," 7 Jan. 2019

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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Statistics for wink

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wink

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

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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
: to shine in an unsteady way



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
informal : 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.
\ 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on wink

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wink

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wink

Spanish Central: Translation of wink

Nglish: Translation of wink for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wink for Arabic Speakers

Comments on wink

What made you want to look up wink? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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