\ 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 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 But here in the San Francisco Bay Area, office lights are winking out one by one as businesses send their employees home to work, and everyone’s talking about Zoom and Microsoft Teams and Hangouts. Molly Wood, Wired, "VR Was Supposed to Help Us Work Remotely. So Where Is It?," 10 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Not only do Ware’s novels wink at Christie in a saucy way, but Ware herself is turning out to be as ingenious and indefatigable as the Queen of Crime. Maureen Corrigan, Washington Post, "Ruth Ware’s ingenious ‘One by One’ pays homage to Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’," 7 Sep. 2020 With a nod and a wink, the Left is peddling Black Lives Matter, the Marxist, anti-American enterprise. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Let Them Boycott!," 29 Aug. 2020 Keanu Reeves does this deadpan thing with a slight wink. Geek's Guide To The Galaxy, WIRED, "The ‘Double Dragon’ Movie Should Be a Cult Classic," 28 Aug. 2020 Three minutes later Mbappé, with a sly wink, and Di María, less pleased, follow them off. Rory Smith, New York Times, "P.S.G. wins, 3-0, and reaches its first Champions League final.," 18 Aug. 2020 But nowadays Max pushes for Rodney to go faster through this stretch of road and launch them straight into the party and the wink from the girl in the red beret. David Gilbert, The New Yorker, "Cicadia," 17 Aug. 2020 So the 27-year-old with Sri Lankan roots tweeted it as a wink to others who understood the significance of the term. Sophia Tareen, Star Tribune, "'One of us': South Asians celebrate Harris as VP choice," 12 Aug. 2020 The poker players, with a wink, called themselves the Committee. Elizabeth Weil, Saveur, "Who Really Invented the Reuben?," 6 Sep. 2016 Your First is a wink of sorts, at Washington biography and at the ways that Americans have very consistently misremembered the first president. Karin Wulf, Smithsonian Magazine, "A New Book About George Washington Breaks All the Rules on How to Write About George Washington," 4 Feb. 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

26 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wink.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2020.

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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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