\ 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 Soon after, all 54 reactors in Japan were shut down amid safety fears, winking out nearly 50 gigawatts of generating capacity. The Economist, "Was shutting Japan’s reactors deadlier than the Fukushima disaster?," 7 Nov. 2019 The mass of the black hole, which must decrease slightly to counter this effect and ensure that energy is still conserved, gradually winks out of existence. Jennifer Ouellette, Quanta Magazine, "Alice and Bob Meet the Wall of Fire," 21 Dec. 2012 But that doesn’t explain how the mysterious green blob winked in and out of existence so quickly. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Astronomers Puzzle Over Short-Lived Glowing Green Light Bursts," 6 Sep. 2019 Problem was my friends could not make out the autographs and never believed me, but, hey, Vin Scully winked at me that day and nobody else! Los Angeles Times, "The Sports Report: Lynn Swann is out, but who’s going to take over?," 10 Sep. 2019 In swift prose — lightened by winking references to American history, like a café named for anti–Equal Rights Amendment activist Phyllis Schlafly — Atwood weaves together three distinct narratives to chronicle the rise and fall of Gilead. Time, "The Handmaid's Tale Was a Warning. Three Decades Later, Margaret Atwood Is Back With Another," 3 Sep. 2019 Struggling to keep her guinea pig cafe open and butting up against the strain of family and friendships, Fleabag brings audiences into her deliciously messy life with plenty of bawdy humor, winking asides, and gut-wrenching truths. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Phoebe Waller-Bridge's one-woman show version of Fleabag is headed to movie theaters," 28 Aug. 2019 Adkins, meanwhile, is much more the country-rocker, taking classic crunchy guitar riffs and retrofitting them with a touch of twang and subject matter full of fishing, pickup trucks and lots of winking double entendre. Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities, "Trace Adkins, Clint Black, Terri Clark shimmer in rainy Grandstand show," 25 Aug. 2019 The Trumps, by contrast, were outsiders on the ascent, with Manhattan’s elite winking tantalizingly from across the East River. Natasha Frost, Quartz, "No, Boris Johnson isn’t the UK’s Donald Trump," 25 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There’s also a promise to tackle rural exodus -- a wink at the tiny Teruel Existe group that won its first parliamentary seat on a campaign to address precisely that issue. Washington Post, "Bid for Spanish Government on Again But Tricky: The Next Steps," 13 Nov. 2019 The front desk clerk, one Roxanne Cortez, wishes him a pleasant stay and winks at him. Christian Holub,, "Read an excerpt from Dean Koontz's newest story collection, Nameless," 11 Nov. 2019 The film, principally told in slow-burning flashbacks and punctuated by mournful voice-over by De Niro, even winks at the possibility that Mafia figures were tied to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Daniel Arkin, NBC News, "'The Irishman': What to know about Martin Scorsese's mob epic," 1 Nov. 2019 When the robots speak, their mouths flash, their eyes wink and the machine’s arms move up and down. Peter Holley, The Denver Post, "Humanoid robots help passengers find their way around Istanbul’s new airport," 20 Oct. 2019 But each new gene discovery helps elucidate how these interrelated pathways control our 40 winks. Wired, "A New Gene Helps Explain Why Some People Need Less Sleep," 16 Oct. 2019 Brooke showed a lot of confidence, even giving the cameras a wink at the very start of her routine. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Ally Brooke Delivers Confident Jive on 'Dancing With The Stars': Watch," 8 Oct. 2019 As such, Chapter Two’s humor feels more playful, and delivered with a slight wink at an audience who is now familiar with this world and Pennywise’s antics. Richard Newby, The Hollywood Reporter, "'It: Chapter Two' and the Weight of Expectations," 7 Sep. 2019 Her outfit wasn't just a wink at her history on the Versace runway though. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Kaia Gerber's 18th Birthday Party Outfit Was a Nod to Her Mom Cindy Crawford," 7 Sep. 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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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

15 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Wink.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on wink

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wink

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wink

Spanish Central: Translation of wink

Nglish: Translation of wink for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wink for Arabic Speakers

Comments on wink

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