verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1Shut and open the eyes quickly.

    ‘I blinked in astonishment’
    with object ‘he blinked his eyes nervously’
    ‘she blinked away her tears’
    • ‘I grab her chin forcefully with my hand and pull her face towards mine, watching her as she blinks furiously and opens her eyes wide.’
    • ‘I nodded quickly, blinking as I began looking ahead of me again.’
    • ‘Eyes blinked open… only to be greeted by the sight of a small girl, making her way up the winding path as if this were no particular day.’
    • ‘Arielle blinked twice before opening her eyes fully and staring at Luke with her usual cheery smile.’
    • ‘His mouth was open slightly and his eyes where wide open and not blinking.’
    • ‘She waited for it to go away; she blinked, shut her eyes and opened them again to no avail.’
    • ‘The door opened and a tall thin man appeared, Koishi blinked and quickly stepped away.’
    • ‘I had my head lolled to one side, mouth open, eyes weakly blinking.’
    • ‘After a few minutes, the door swung open, and Neko blinked up at me.’
    • ‘The man blinked, before opening the door wider and ushering me inside.’
    • ‘She says it all very quickly and I blink as I take it in.’
    • ‘He blinked quickly and then turned to look at the half open door where his mother was leaning inside.’
    • ‘He opened his eyes and quickly blinked as the rainwater seeped into his eyes.’
    • ‘Julia opened her eyes blinking up at the dark ceiling of her bedroom.’
    • ‘‘Okay, my turn,’ I said quickly, blinking rapidly to make up for the past few seconds.’
    • ‘It took him a little while, but he finally opened his eyes, blinking tiredly.’
    • ‘His voice remains level, but he blinks quickly and hard.’
    • ‘She felt tears bristling again, and took a few deep breaths, blinking quickly.’
    • ‘We pushed it open, and stood blinking in the dark of the hall.’
    • ‘She blinked open her bloodshot eyes and didn't really seem to see me.’
    shut and open, flutter, flicker, wink, bat
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1blink something backwith object Try to control or prevent tears by blinking.
      ‘Elizabeth blinked back tears’
      • ‘She looked like she wanted to cry but she blinked the tears back.’
      • ‘A frown appeared on his face, as he desperately tried to blink his tears back.’
      • ‘She drew in a breath, and blinked her tears back.’
      • ‘I felt my eyes mist at the mention of my father's name, and then blinked the tears back.’
      • ‘Emily found her eyes full of tears, and blinked them back.’
      • ‘My eyes began flooding with tears, but I tried to blink them back.’
      • ‘Her gray eyes filled with tears, but she blinked them back resolutely.’
      • ‘I blinked my tears back and followed behind Matt.’
      • ‘She lay there for a few seconds before blinking the tears back.’
      • ‘Tears threatened to flood her eyes and she blinked them back, only to encourage them to overflow.’
    2. 1.2blink atusually with negative React to (something) with surprise or disapproval.
      ‘he doesn't blink at the unsavoury aspects of his subject’
      • ‘Why, he asks, does wearing the swastika attract widespread scorn, while no one blinks at the person wearing a hammer and sickle on his baseball cap?’
      • ‘Well, purchasing power is up for sure and nobody blinks at a thousand rupees for a ticket anymore.’
      • ‘Neither mother nor child even blinked at the scene they created.’
      • ‘We don't even blink at these expressions of violence any more.’
      • ‘Victorian morality and its inherent contradictions wouldn't have blinked at the pair's duplicity.’
      be surprised, look twice, be startled, be shocked
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    3. 1.3 Back down from a confrontation.
      ‘the government blinked only after losing 46 of the first 48 hearings’
      • ‘As ever, he thinks he will be the last to blink.’
      • ‘On the matter of generic pharmaceuticals, it seems to be a case of who blinks first.’
      • ‘Well, Katherine Graham didn't blink, and the rest, as they say, is history.’
      • ‘"Each one is waiting to see who will blink first," said one foreign diplomat.’
      • ‘With Miami, Cleveland and Tampa Bay showing interest, he can walk away from the table without blinking.’
      • ‘I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can't blink.’
      • ‘It looks like they're playing chicken to see who's going to blink first.’
      • ‘But New England's offensive line hasn't blinked much.’
      • ‘He'll have to hope Labor blinks even if no new evidence is produced.’
      • ‘Another area where enterprise customers blink is multiple sources.’
      • ‘"But on this issue they'll have to blink and swallow some castor oil to get what they want."’
      • ‘The ancient British art of industrial brinkmanship is risky for managements and unions that try to force each other to blink first.’
  • 2(of a light) flash on and off in a regular or intermittent way.

    ‘the car's right-hand indicator was blinking’
    • ‘As the sun set, the fluorescent jetty lights blinked on, producing pools of glittering reflections on the dark surface.’
    • ‘The overhead lights blinked once, then went out, casting the compartment in darkness.’
    • ‘I mean, he could be talking until morning if they didn't have a little red light blinking there on the podium.’
    • ‘The lights blinked again before finally going out, but the candles provided the cabin with plenty of light.’
    • ‘At night all the lights blink and flash, and you can hear waves of screams from the rides.’
    • ‘You punched some buttons and a few lights blinked and in a matter of moments the computer solved a math problem.’
    • ‘With most cameras the correct-focus indicator light will blink rapidly and the shutter release won't fire.’
    • ‘It was traveling faster than most small planes and he watched the white light blinked out.’
    • ‘A red light began blinking and flashing in the room, and an alarm went berserk.’
    • ‘Lights were blinking on the signs that commanded vehicles to stop.’
    • ‘Rebus noticed that an ambulance, blue lights blinking, was parked in front of a stationary double-decker bus.’
    • ‘I checked the phone, and, sure enough, the little red light was blinking, indicating that there was a message.’
    • ‘After a few seconds, the antenna stopped moving and another light blinked on.’
    • ‘The loud slam of the door was still resonating in her mind as the van rolled away, the left-had signal light blinking only once before turning onto the main street.’
    • ‘A small red light blinked, indicating that the water level was rapidly falling.’
    • ‘I told her I saw it enter the atmosphere and if it was a plane we'd only see lights blinking.’
    • ‘There were lights flashing and monitors blinking behind them.’
    • ‘They're looking for the indicator light to blink on, then off.’
    • ‘As they prepared to go against whatever was up ahead, the emergency lights blinked out without warning.’
    • ‘A red light blinking in the answer machine slowly flicked on and off.’
    flash, flicker, twinkle, waver, wink, scintillate, glint, glimmer, glitter, shine, shine intermittently
    View synonyms

noun

  • 1An act of shutting and opening the eyes very quickly.

    ‘he was observing her every blink’
    • ‘The blinks and other movements of her eyes, the occasional smiles, the sleep-wake pattern are all typical of a vegetative condition, manifesting reflex reactions, not consciousness.’
    • ‘Rachel and Annette both halted and turned, Rachel giving a blink of surprise at the tall and handsome man approaching.’
    • ‘So far as the vehicles go, colors can be changed in what amounts to a physical blink of an eye.’
    • ‘I take long blinks and rarely look at the camera's screen.’
    • ‘The blue eyes closed, staying shut longer and tighter than a blink would require.’
    • ‘Michael brushed his hand across his sleepy eyes and gave a heavy blink and then looked again.’
    • ‘It is now well-known that in order to observe a blink, the first target must be masked.’
    • ‘Tying a balloon at the gate to the zoo, he catches the blink of a cashier before she rings up another fee, hungers for the moment a turtle slips into water.’
    • ‘Vicki caught his blink of shock and silently began to pray that he could help them.’
    • ‘A cat will say ‘hello’ with a slow blink, the polite cat will look away after it has blinked.’
    • ‘A couple of blinks as he looks from the man next to them to Rama and back…’
    • ‘In a single blink, Justine had analyzed him and the situation she was in.’
    • ‘But she watched her mother blink in surprise and take an involuntary step back away from her.’
    • ‘Now, with a mind that is probably as sharp as it ever was, the only movements she can make are blinks and small yawns.’
    • ‘Voters are seen as a strange and volatile lot, who could turn bad at the blink of an eye.’
    • ‘Last night it emerged that police may seek to interview the girl even though she can only communicate using blinks and facial expressions.’
    • ‘In a projected image of a street scene various items are removed and displaced (seemingly at random) between tenth-of-a-second artificial blinks.’
    • ‘Trials with excessive eye movements, blinks, or blockage were rejected.’
    • ‘It is an eye open to the reader as it translates its complex turns, blinks, and refraction onto the page.’
    • ‘With a startled blink, Ana looked behind her to find none other then the orange pig-tailed little girl.’
    1. 1.1 A moment's hesitation.
      ‘Feargal would have given her all this without a blink’
      • ‘She accepted the whole thing without a blink… although I can't say the same about my brother and father.’
      • ‘The maids were well paid, well fed, well rested, well clothed and if some emergency cropped up they were given leave without the blink of an eye.’
      • ‘If I would get the chance I would fight them tomorrow without a blink of my eye.’
      • ‘Without a blink she marched to the trapdoor and began the descent, doing her best not to look Jorte in the eyes.’
      • ‘The film leaps from cityscapes to stages and back without a blink.’
  • 2A momentary gleam of light.

    ‘out on the marshes there was a blink of light’
    • ‘But a blink of sunlight was a harbinger of hope for the Edinburgh team as they gradually but determinedly fought their way back into this game.’
    • ‘The car responds with a blink of its lights and a short shriek.’
    • ‘Yesterday we had rain, rain and more rain, a little blink of sunshine and then thick mist!’
    • ‘She gave Sasha a short blink from her light and heard the car motor start.’
    • ‘A fluorescent light, for instance, actually blinks on and off sixty times a second, but most people perceive the light as continuous.’
    • ‘It should come as no surprise that, when the slightest blink of yellow light came into view, I recklessly sped towards it.’
    • ‘Then there it was again, a blink of light in the grass about three yards away.’
    • ‘It was of similar shape as a fighter and had a flashing red light similar to passenger jet's blink.’
    • ‘Through the veil she saw the blink of gold, the flash of a silver ring on a pale wraith's finger.’
    sparkle, twinkle, glint, gleam, shimmer, glimmer, flicker, blink, flash
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • in the blink of an eye (or in a blink)

    • Very quickly.

      ‘software that would do lots of boring calculations in the blink of an eye’
      • ‘Remember, women's fashion trends come and go in the blink of an eye.’
      • ‘Dinner went by reasonably quickly, and in the blink of an eye, they were fast asleep, except for one.’
      • ‘At only 55 minutes, the album's twelve tracks go by in the blink of an eye.’
      • ‘Richard was a little shocked to see her go from shy and demure to forthright and direct in the blink of an eye.’
      • ‘The ball began to grow and then, suddenly, in the blink of an eye, it disappeared.’
      • ‘He had come this close to death in the blink of an eye, and just as quickly it was taken away.’
      • ‘The canoe slides into the water in the blink of an eye and before you can say Jack Robinson it's twenty yards off shore.’
      • ‘Without a care in the world, he has negotiated hairpin bends at gravity-defying angles and roared past rivals in the blink of an eye.’
      • ‘He looks like a picture, frozen in time, one instant that happened in the blink of an eye, unnoticed and uncared for by the rest of the universe.’
      • ‘Human freedom has already vanished from his world, in the blink of an eye.’
      immediately, at once, straight away, right away, instantaneously, suddenly, abruptly, all of a sudden, on the instant, at a stroke, forthwith, then and there, there and then, here and now, that minute, this minute, that very minute, this very minute, that instant, this instant
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  • not blink an eye

    • Show no reaction.

      • ‘We don't blink an eye today when we see women doing what would once be considered jobs for the boys.’
      • ‘The man didn't blink an eye at her faux pas, however, and merely got into the car after being handed the keys and drove away.’
      • ‘The point is that the character's gay but the audience doesn't blink an eye.’
      • ‘When his boss brought him the new assignment last fall, he didn't blink an eye.’
      • ‘She was grating Parmesan, and didn't blink an eye.’
      • ‘We don't blink an eye at helping the mentally retarded; the fact that many poor people are intellectually inferior only bolsters their need for assistance from the more able.’
      • ‘I don't blink an eye when we're called amateur food writers, even though many bloggers make the monthly equivalent of one small magazine article sale, if not more.’
      • ‘Our friends don't blink an eye at a $2,000 dinette set.’
      • ‘Emma, Jeff, Tina and Darcy don't blink an eye and raise their glasses along with me.’
      • ‘He didn't blink an eye when purchasing a pair of Italian loafers for more than a thousand US dollars.’
  • on the blink

    • informal (of a machine) not working properly; out of order.

      ‘the computer's on the blink’
      • ‘Nowadays when your solid-state, instant-on color TV goes on the blink, you phone the TV repairman for an appointment.’
      • ‘If the washing machine goes on the blink it has to be winched on to the ferry and it's gone for a fortnight.’
      • ‘It also had the effect of making visitors think their monitor was on the blink.’
      • ‘I opt for a full breakfast in my room - it arrives piping hot - the only hitch being that the cappuccino machine (there's one in each villa) is on the blink.’
      • ‘The traffic lights operated correctly last week but come Sunday morning they were dangerously on the blink again, changing colour with bewildering rapidity.’
      • ‘The chip fat filtering machine went on the blink and a manager decided to cut corners.’
      • ‘In exasperation Alan finally said: ‘Either there's something wrong with your modem or your computer's on the blink.’’
      • ‘The home air-conditioner is on the blink and the AC repairman charged $200 just to drive over and tell me he needed to order parts.’
      • ‘Residents of a ‘sister’ tower block to the one where tenants have been waiting since January for lift repairs say their elevators are now on the blink.’
      • ‘But it's the relatively trivial things which are the most maddening and frustrating - TVs conking out, ovens going on the blink, computers crashing.’
      damaged, faulty, defective, unsound
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Origin

Middle English: from blenk, Scots variant of blench, reinforced by Middle Dutch blinken ‘to shine’. Early senses included ‘deceive’, ‘flinch’ (compare with blench), and also ‘open the eyes after sleep’: hence blink (sense 1 of the verb) (mid 16th century).

Pronunciation

blink

/blɪŋk/