\ 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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Drink responsibly, the ads wink, without ever explaining the toll that frequent or excessive alcohol use exacts, particularly at certain stages in life. Anchorage Daily News, 25 July 2021 This fabled 125-mile stretch of road runs alongside a slender tendril of water called Turnagain Arm before ascending into the dramatic Chugach and Kenai Mountains, where ancient glaciers wink through summertime greenery. Katie Pesznecker, Anchorage Daily News, 28 June 2021 The prominence of corporate lobbyists in the new administration all but assures that Biden, like Barack Obama, will wink and nod as Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google acquire or crush competitors . . . Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 25 June 2021 The unlikelihood of success is not a reason to wink at the audience but rather a reason to root for their victory and hold our breath when defeat seems imminent. Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 24 June 2021 Light from a half moon glimmered in the waves, and stars began to wink in from the growing darkness. oregonlive, 23 June 2021 The larger stakes are whether the Supreme Court will wink as America divides in ways that have proved so destructive in the past. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 24 May 2021 The action-movie expectation is that literal giants — Schwarzeneggers, Rocks, even Hemsworths — will wink at their own physicality. Darren Franich,, 20 May 2021 Now, Ukrainian scientists are scrambling to determine whether the reactions will wink out on their own—or require extraordinary interventions to avert another accident. Richard Stone, Science | AAAS, 5 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There are framed photographs of Michelle Obama and Oprah on the walls, and gigantic storybooks on the floor—a wink at the spirit of faux intellectualism. The New Yorker, 9 Aug. 2021 But from that point on, the performances have no hint of a wink. Jake Coyle, Star Tribune, 8 July 2021 Old school diner means South Beach comfort at Winker’s Diner Named after Grutman’s one-eyed pet cat, Winker, this spot is a heartfelt wink-and-nod to a communal atmosphere and experience. Amber Love Bond, Forbes, 31 Aug. 2021 Despite having some of the best doctors in the world on the Ravens medical staff and more than 90% of his teammates getting a vaccine, Jackson gave you a wink and a smile, but no yes confirmation. Mike Preston,, 10 Aug. 2021 The wink-and-a-nod element at play here is the subtle acknowledgment that for consumers, giving more rights to workers might mean slightly higher prices on cabs and food delivery. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, 23 Aug. 2021 Duplass is an engaging actor, giving a wink and a nod kind of performance. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 17 Aug. 2021 This Japanese dystopian horror masterpiece shocked audiences upon its release for its violence and cruelty—even if it was always delivered with a satirical wink. Liam Hes, Vogue, 14 July 2021 There are too many nod-and-wink ways to pull it off without running afoul of the penal laws. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, 17 July 2021

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

Time Traveler for wink

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near wink



wink at

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for wink

Last Updated

4 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wink.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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 : blink
: to shine in an unsteady way : twinkle



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
: 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.


intransitive verb
\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on wink

Nglish: Translation of wink for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wink for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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