\ 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

Not Dead is an ink drawing on paper of a winking black woman with a tree branch through her heart and strange fruits and blood on the leaves. Dallas News, "A Dallas art gallery examines identity in 'How It Looks To Be You In Egyptian Cotton'," 23 Aug. 2019 The expanding global human footprint is dividing the world’s flora and fauna into ever-smaller, more isolated populations that could wink out because of inbreeding, disease, or environmental change. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Boosting genetic diversity may save vanishing animal populations. But it may also backfire," 16 July 2019 Even in real life, Pitt seems to have gotten his swagger back since his split from Angelina Jolie, showing up at the Hollywood premiere in a relaxed suit, winking at the camera and having fun with fans. Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY, "A breakdown of Brad Pitt's return to full hotness in 'Once Upon A Time in Hollywood'," 12 July 2019 The tweet showed Wyatt winking at the camera and was in response to an article about President Trump’s willingness to nominate a Supreme Court justice before the 2020 election. Washington Post, "Actor Adam Scott and Sen. Mitch McConnell’s social media team are in a Twitter fight," 27 June 2019 The Court is winking at the excesses of the lower-court judge and inviting challenges to the political motives of agency actions that are fully justified under the law. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Contradictions of John Roberts," 27 June 2019 Too many businesses have relied on cheap, unauthorized labor for too long, and many politicians winked at this while calling for border walls and other means of enforcement. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Communities can become collateral damage in illegal immigration raids," 26 June 2019 That sense of winking playfulness pervades every scene and it’s brought to colorful life in Jennifer Brawn Gittings’ riotously colorful costumes. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘Rock of Ages’ at Cygnet a tongue-in-cheek guilty pleasure," 8 July 2019 Never to be confused with the U.S. representative from Illinois, Rush is an eightysomething chitlin-circuit star who combines blues structure and funk attitude with a bit of winking lasciviousness built over many decades. Steve Knopper,, "Chicago Blues Fest: 7 must-see shows, from Bettye LaVette to Bobby Rush," 6 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This fantastically gaudy production, directed by Alex Timbers, is an inventive, glorious celebration of pop tunes ranging from soft rock to hip-hop, all of them put in a glittery blender and served with a naughty wink. Kyle Smith, National Review, "The Hottest New Show on Broadway Is . . .," 30 Aug. 2019 Video clips of their red carpet interviews show off their ability to answer questions with charm and a wink. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "Twitter’s White Boy of the Month Meme Is a Match Made in Heaven Between Celebrity and Internet Culture," 26 Aug. 2019 For example, in one sequence, a physically unimposing woman suddenly turns out to have amazing martial arts abilities, which is exactly the sort of setup that Stephen Chow staged in films like Shaolin Soccer with a high-octane wink. Noah Berlatsky, The Verge, "Netflix’s Wu Assassins series lacks the Hong Kong cinema magic," 8 Aug. 2019 My aspiration going forward is to keep the look and feel of ‘classics with a twist,’ always with a bit of a wink. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Chris Benz Was at J.Crew During Its Glory Days—Can He Bring Them Back?," 11 June 2019 This characteristic of implicit logic—a nod and wink to shared knowledge about an event or person—is what makes memes impactful. Claire Wardle, Scientific American, "Misinformation Has Created a New World Disorder," 20 Aug. 2019 ThoseHaciendaVibezzz Pink to make football fans wink., "Premier League Kits 2019/20: Every Away Shirt Ranked From Worst to Best," 2 Aug. 2019 Use Headphones with Discretion Save yourself the five bucks and catch some more winks by passing on the airline’s headphones. Ed Hewitt, USA TODAY, "Sleeping on planes: 13 tips for getting 40 winks on your next long-haul flight," 5 July 2019 And although animals may close one eye, and despite the vast amount of evidence on the internet, there is no scientific evidence that dogs, or any other animals, wink. James Gorman, New York Times, "Those Puppy Dog Eyes You Can’t Resist? Thank Evolution," 17 June 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

6 Sep 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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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