Definition of blackout in English:



  • 1often with modifier A failure of electrical power supply.

    ‘due to a power blackout, their hotel was in total darkness’
    • ‘She becomes the victim of the Glue Man, a mysterious prankster who uses the cover of a blackout to put glue in girls' hair.’
    • ‘Last weekend was the first anniversary of the big blackout that shut down large parts of northeastern North America last summer.’
    • ‘In some states, we face the possibility of brownouts or blackouts in peak load periods.’
    • ‘In the past, monopoly providers worked together to prevent local or regional blackouts.’
    • ‘Well, the lights are back on in Detroit now after a partial blackout that shut down a major border crossing.’
    • ‘But in a country where electricity is in short supply and power blackouts are common, the frost-free and energy-efficient technology can be a major handicap.’
    • ‘As soon as the blackout hit, it started dumping waste directly into the East River and continued doing so for the next 29 hours.’
    • ‘The power corporation instituted rotating blackouts for periods in the community while the power plant was being repaired.’
    • ‘Dramatic cuts in the workforce result in cuts to maintenance crews and accidents, and equipment-related blackouts increase.’
    • ‘When the city suffered blackouts after power failures in 1998, his emergency response team provided the generators to keep the city functioning.’
    • ‘After the 1965 blackout, which covered much of the same territory as the August 2003 event, steps were taken to prevent a recurrence of the problem.’
    • ‘California dramatically reduced power consumption over just a few weeks and prevented rolling blackouts and the economic disruption they would have entailed.’
    • ‘A grid spokeswoman says there is little danger of blackouts, but power supplies are tight.’
    • ‘I like taking part in something that is here and now, like when we covered the blackout this past summer.’
    • ‘The island was plunged into a power blackout as electricity pylons and light poles crashed to the ground and telephone lines were ripped out.’
    • ‘The remaining 15 were used by 9 p.m. that evening long before the blackout ended.’
    • ‘Estimates of the economic costs of the blackout reach upwards of $5 billion.’
    • ‘But whether those steps will be enough to prevent blackouts is impossible to tell.’
    • ‘On a dilapidated black-and-white television sits an old kerosene lamp which he lights when a blackout plunges him into darkness.’
    • ‘Since no electric power plants have been built in the past 10 years, he must endure rolling blackouts at least once a week.’
    power cut, power failure, electricity failure
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    1. 1.1 A period when all lights must be turned out or covered to prevent them being seen by the enemy during an air raid.
      ‘people found it difficult to travel in the blackout’
      as modifier ‘she peered out through the blackout curtains’
      • ‘Visitors will be able to rediscover the long-forgotten world of blackouts, air-raids, rationing and the Home Guard.’
      • ‘The blackout system must incorporate an automatic shut off if there is an open hatch, door, or ramp.’
      • ‘Slowly, I got up and lifted the blackout curtain on the right side of my room.’
      • ‘The lab is a windowless room with a blackout curtain puffed over the closed door, and when the lights are turned off, it's completely dark.’
      • ‘So draw the blackout curtains and drown out the roar of the passing airplanes while you contemplate your email by the light of this cheery bit of decor.’
      • ‘In those days, I could pull back the blackout curtains in the morning and tell instantly whether I was going to have a good or a bad day.’
      • ‘But the captain had ordered a blackout of all lights on the ship.’
      • ‘He threw open the blackout curtains of heavy, dark velvet, letting the rosy light of dawn seep into the room.’
      • ‘The blackout curtain was cracked on the side and allowed just enough light in to barely see by.’
      • ‘Use blackout curtains, eye covers, earplugs, extra blankets, a fan, a humidifier or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.’
    2. 1.2usually blackouts Dark curtains put up in windows to cover lights during an air raid.
    3. 1.3 A moment in the theater when the lights on stage are suddenly turned off.
      • ‘Where Mamet's play features blackouts, the film substitutes long, synthesized soft-rock montages.’
      • ‘A theater on the 2nd and 3rd floors will have back and side walls of glass allowing a backdrop of a clear view of the harbor or controlled filtering down to complete blackout.’
      • ‘The frequency of entries, exits and prolonged blackouts during scene changes detracts from the performances.’
      • ‘The production looks chic in her design, but it is clumsy, with long blackouts after each scene, and lazily paced.’
  • 2A suppression of information, especially one imposed on the media by government.

    ‘the total information blackout on the series of meetings’
    • ‘An information blackout imposed on the government's actions was indicative of a disturbed conscience.’
    • ‘I'm unsure of the media blackout at the moment, I have seen both conflicting screens of the game, some look awesome - some look drab.’
    • ‘‘There is an information blackout on the case,’ she said.’
    • ‘Because the government and the media have imposed a blackout on the protest, it is not known how many are still refusing food and water.’
    • ‘Due to a press blackout imposed by both sides in the dispute, no details have been released as to what contractual disagreements caused the breakdown in the negotiations.’
    • ‘Any such action would probably involve a TV blackout, but the matches themselves are likely to still take place.’
    • ‘I know you will have a big problem with the media blackout on your campaign, but it is important for you to soldier on.’
    • ‘The main media outlets have imposed their own, more far-reaching blackout on the case, despite its implications for civil liberties and free speech.’
    • ‘They had imposed a strict blackout on media coverage of the coffins returning to Dover, claiming that it is was meant to protect the privacy of the slain soldiers' families.’
    • ‘More and more governments are tightening controls on media freedom and information blackouts.’
    • ‘Sorry to tease but I can't give any more details at the moment as there's a news blackout.’
    • ‘Erroneous public perception of a massive cost-overrun was never addressed and as the project advanced, a publicity blackout added commensurate mystery.’
    • ‘The government, however, maintains tough media censorship including a virtual blackout on military operations.’
    • ‘During the first Persian Gulf War, there was a media blackout from the moment the ground war began.’
    • ‘News organisations do occasionally agree to news blackouts if they are advised that this will help to secure the safety of hostages.’
    • ‘The government has imposed a censorship blackout on the media and no journalists are permitted in the war zone.’
    • ‘The country's dictators remain so terrified of the lure of democracy and its defenders that they ordered a total blackout on the news.’
    • ‘Authorities have arrested high-profile editors, closed publications, and imposed news blackouts on politically sensitive events.’
    • ‘Despite a media blackout on the province, reports continued to filter out of extra judicial murders, arbitrary arrest and torture.’
    suppression, silence, censorship, reporting restrictions, cut-off
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    1. 2.1 A period during which a particular activity is prohibited.
      ‘there are no blackout days during the travel period’
      • ‘The local market closed on a one-week low, in a subdued mood ahead of the reporting season which begins next week, and with it a traditional blackout period.’
      • ‘A shorter blackout period will surround Oct. 1, China's National Day, taking over cinemas from Sept. 20 to October 10.’
      • ‘Legal interpretation of the act has found that this restriction applies to posting of any new or updated material on a party website during the blackout periods.’
      • ‘He can't disclose the fund's investments so far because a three-month blackout period is still in effect.’
      • ‘Safe would also cap the length of time a search could be kept secret at seven days, though a judge could repeatedly extend the blackout period in weeklong chunks.’
      • ‘The same section prohibits insider trading of company securities by directors and senior executives during blackout periods.’
      • ‘The company's compliance officer should be strictly enforcing blackout periods; Genesis recommends no trading the last one or two months of every quarter.’
      • ‘The team will not speak with him and his representative about an extension until after July 15, when the blackout period is lifted under league guidelines.’
      • ‘Firstly, as many have already said, the holds do have blackout periods.’
      • ‘Every night families gather to watch Afghan TV, back on the air after years of Taliban blackout.’
      • ‘It prohibits the purchase or sale of stock by officers and directors and other insiders during blackout periods.’
  • 3A temporary loss of consciousness.

    ‘she was suffering from blackouts’
    • ‘The young doctor suffered blackouts and colleagues discovered he was addicted to the painkiller pethidine.’
    • ‘The vast majority of what is known about alcohol-induced blackouts is derived from research with hospitalized alcoholics.’
    • ‘Students were also asked to provide a narrative of what transpired during their last blackout based upon what they could recall on their own and what others told them.’
    • ‘From the age of 35, Pat began experiencing blackouts and severe fatigue and eventually went for medical assessment.’
    • ‘‘We weren't sure if they were micro naps or blackouts but they were happening every ten seconds,’ she said.’
    • ‘Despite still suffering blackouts and mood swing, she succeeded in passing her exams.’
    • ‘Her first step towards recovery came after a visit to a counsellor after she started experiencing blackouts.’
    • ‘Explain to children at a young age what shallow-water blackout is and why they should never practice breath-hold diving’
    • ‘By re-reading his childhood diaries (and concentrating very hard) he can transport himself back to the past, to the very moment of his blackouts.’
    • ‘Pacemakers are usually used to treat an abnormally slow heartbeat which can cause dizziness, fainting or blackouts.’
    • ‘Since age seven, he has been experiencing blackouts at moments of high emotional stress.’
    • ‘She had also been warned that since her concussion had been pretty bad she might also have some momentary blackouts.’
    • ‘He now suffered headaches and blackouts and had to see a neurosurgeon.’
    • ‘When mixed with alcohol it can lead to blackouts and amnesia.’
    • ‘In February, up to seven prison staff suffered memory blackouts after their drinks were spiked during a night out.’
    • ‘Some known dissociative states induced by substance abuse include alcoholic blackouts and substance-induced amnestic disorder.’
    • ‘The ten, aged 29 to 53, had very severe diabetes from their youth, needed up to 15 injections of insulin a day and often suffered blackouts without warning.’
    • ‘He took another sip, sustained another blackout.’
    • ‘He couldn't explain how it happened but he thought he must have had a blackout.’
    • ‘I have a distinct memory of being seven and working myself up pretty badly because I realised it was possible to have a blackout at any moment.’
    faint, fainting fit, loss of consciousness, coma, passing out, period of oblivion, swoon, collapse
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