\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for wink

Synonyms: Verb


Synonyms: Noun

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Shoulder pads sort of came back in style in recent years, but in a truly campy way: It winked at the past, knowing that the look is sculpted but a little silly, and then dared to be taken seriously. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Who Wore the Biggest Shoulders at the 2019 Met Gala? An Investigation," 7 May 2019 Its title implies fright but also winks at the show’s droll tone. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "The Unique, Comic Alchemy of Los Espookys," 21 June 2019 Jarmusch fills his film with a giddy array of idiosyncratic characters and a cast of actors who wink at the cinematic worlds of David Lynch and the Coen brothers. Paige Williams, The New Yorker, "“The Dead Don’t Die,” Reviewed: Jim Jarmusch’s Fiercely Political Zombie Comedy," 14 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Peter Parker is defined by his sincere do-gooder nature; Tony Stark typically did the right thing, but always with a naughty wink. Emily Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Spider-Man: Far From Home turns a class-conscious hero into a tech bro," 3 July 2019 By the end, the lab is littered with the remains of fun, and Schneider winks at parents as the professor hopes Becky’s mom will host next time. Jennifer Day,, "Parents already love ‘The Rabbit Listened.’ How’s the author’s follow-up?," 24 June 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 Launching today, the limited-edition collab spans four insanely covetable products done up in extra-special pink packaging and Ferragni's signature wink motif. Karina Hoshikawa,, "Chiara Ferragni Teamed Up With Lancôme — & You're Going To Want Everything," 15 June 2019 In a typical election year, a 43-year veteran of Congress with $3.5 million in the bank and a proudly liberal record wouldn’t have to worry a wink about winning a contested Democratic primary in Massachusetts. Michael Levenson,, "Markey will run on his record, but will that be enough?," 4 June 2019 Now, so many commercials are done with a wink and a nod. Luke Winkie, Vox, "Ad campaigns and new products like Charmin’s “Forever” roll and IHOb drum up internet outrage. That’s the point.," 27 June 2019 In effect, Compton went to Europe and made a New Wave film, a personalized and aestheticized refraction of this genre that both nods and winks at its conventions and uses them as a springboard for personal expression. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Juleen Compton, a Director and Actor Whose Career Was Tragically Overlooked," 19 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wink

Statistics for wink

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wink

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a period when something is suspended

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!