\ 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

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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 Though the poem’s meaning in French is not much clearer, the music of the language creates its own sort of sense, and does so in a way that seems almost to wink at the reader. Claire Messud, The New York Review of Books, "The Dream of Pure Expression," 17 Nov. 2020 Our subjective assessment of the image was confirmed by the Nitro’s low resolution score, and the 65mm scope was the first to wink out in our low-light test. Andrew Mckean, Outdoor Life, "The 8 Best New Spotting Scopes Put to the Test," 18 Aug. 2020 Today, however, the airport is more inclined to wink at the theories than wag a finger. Joshua Pease, Popular Mechanics, "Is the Denver Airport Really Controlled by the Illuminati?," 1 June 2020 This fabled 125-mile stretch of road travels along Turnagain Arm into the dramatic Chugach and Kenai Mountains, where ancient glaciers wink through summertime greenery. Katie Pesznecker, Anchorage Daily News, "Your guide to an epic Seward Highway road trip," 28 May 2020 At the base of the mountain, the thermometer read minus 3, and the stars had finished winking out as the eastern horizon glowed that color that has no name besides simply gorgeous. Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, "The final bird hunt of the season, and everything old feels young again," 18 Apr. 2020 Gooding nodded and winked at well-wishers outside the courtroom. Washington Post, "Gooding faces new charges and a potential parade of accusers," 15 Oct. 2019 In addition to such frisky anachronisms, Johnson winks at the viewer by featuring the visages of local artists, notably himself. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: From artist Timothy Johnson, a heady exhibition," 18 Oct. 2019 The home-team defenders wink at the vaguely embarrassed umps. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "It Is Time to Rethink Foreign-Intelligence Surveillance," 4 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But as Yakko, Wakko, or Dot tend to remind us after every sly wink at standards and practices, Animaniacs is, in theory, children's programming. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "The Animaniacs reboot, reviewed: Zany is harder to pull off in 2020," 23 Nov. 2020 With a wink from the drunk officer, the young Black man was arrested and placed in the police car. Cary Radisewitz, Star Tribune, "How young men of color mattered to a rural Midwestern community," 19 Dec. 2020 To this day, Snoop’s wink to the game resonates in the hockey community. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "How Nostalgia (and Snoop Dogg) Sparked a Retro Hockey-Jersey Craze," 15 Dec. 2020 But with the hope of a man ready for change — and a knowing wink — Popovich insisted that won’t be a problem. Mike Finger,, "Mike Finger: Ready for change, Popovich returns," 1 Dec. 2020 That darker context gives the movie some tonal balance: For every moment of grandeur, there’s an acidic aside or a visual wink to the industry’s seedy underpinnings. David Sims, The Atlantic, "David Fincher’s Theory of Moviemaking," 4 Dec. 2020 This feels like seeing your dad pat your mom's bum and wink. Gena Kaufman, Glamour, "27 Christmas Love Songs, Ranked in Terms of Their Mistletoe Potential," 2 Dec. 2020 On Sunday evening, during a post-launch news conference, President Gwynne Shotwell suggested, complete with a wink, there would be more commercial flights to follow. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Thanks to SpaceX, NASA regains a capability it lost for a decade," 15 Nov. 2020 The hints of the Beauty and the Beast inspiration wink through in delightful ways, from her bibliophile heroine to servants named Coggins and Mrs. Kettle. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Hot Stuff: October romances bring early holiday cheer," 5 Nov. 2020

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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Statistics for wink

Last Updated

18 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wink.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for wink


How to pronounce wink (audio)

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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