Definition of blackout in English:



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

    ‘due to a power blackout, their hotel was in total darkness’
    • ‘California dramatically reduced power consumption over just a few weeks and prevented rolling blackouts and the economic disruption they would have entailed.’
    • ‘But whether those steps will be enough to prevent blackouts is impossible to tell.’
    • ‘The power corporation instituted rotating blackouts for periods in the community while the power plant was being repaired.’
    • ‘When the city suffered blackouts after power failures in 1998, his emergency response team provided the generators to keep the city functioning.’
    • ‘The island was plunged into a power blackout as electricity pylons and light poles crashed to the ground and telephone lines were ripped out.’
    • ‘On a dilapidated black-and-white television sits an old kerosene lamp which he lights when a blackout plunges him into darkness.’
    • ‘Well, the lights are back on in Detroit now after a partial blackout that shut down a major border crossing.’
    • ‘In some states, we face the possibility of brownouts or blackouts in peak load periods.’
    • ‘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 remaining 15 were used by 9 p.m. that evening long before the blackout ended.’
    • ‘I like taking part in something that is here and now, like when we covered the blackout this past summer.’
    • ‘Since no electric power plants have been built in the past 10 years, he must endure rolling blackouts at least once a week.’
    • ‘Dramatic cuts in the workforce result in cuts to maintenance crews and accidents, and equipment-related blackouts increase.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A grid spokeswoman says there is little danger of blackouts, but power supplies are tight.’
    • ‘Estimates of the economic costs of the blackout reach upwards of $5 billion.’
    • ‘She becomes the victim of the Glue Man, a mysterious prankster who uses the cover of a blackout to put glue in girls' hair.’
    • ‘In the past, monopoly providers worked together to prevent local or regional blackouts.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Last weekend was the first anniversary of the big blackout that shut down large parts of northeastern North America last summer.’
    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.’
      • ‘Use blackout curtains, eye covers, earplugs, extra blankets, a fan, a humidifier or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.’
      • ‘The blackout curtain was cracked on the side and allowed just enough light in to barely see by.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Slowly, I got up and lifted the blackout curtain on the right side of my room.’
      • ‘But the captain had ordered a blackout of all lights on the ship.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He threw open the blackout curtains of heavy, dark velvet, letting the rosy light of dawn seep into the 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.’
      • ‘The blackout system must incorporate an automatic shut off if there is an open hatch, door, or ramp.’
    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.
      • ‘The frequency of entries, exits and prolonged blackouts during scene changes detracts from the performances.’
      • ‘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 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.

    ‘there is a total information blackout on minority interests’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The main media outlets have imposed their own, more far-reaching blackout on the case, despite its implications for civil liberties and free speech.’
    • ‘Sorry to tease but I can't give any more details at the moment as there's a news blackout.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘News organisations do occasionally agree to news blackouts if they are advised that this will help to secure the safety of hostages.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 country's dictators remain so terrified of the lure of democracy and its defenders that they ordered a total blackout on the news.’
    • ‘Any such action would probably involve a TV blackout, but the matches themselves are likely to still take place.’
    • ‘‘There is an information blackout on the case,’ she said.’
    • ‘Authorities have arrested high-profile editors, closed publications, and imposed news blackouts on politically sensitive events.’
    • ‘An information blackout imposed on the government's actions was indicative of a disturbed conscience.’
    • ‘The government, however, maintains tough media censorship including a virtual blackout on military operations.’
    • ‘The government has imposed a censorship blackout on the media and no journalists are permitted in the war zone.’
    • ‘During the first Persian Gulf War, there was a media blackout from the moment the ground war began.’
    • ‘Erroneous public perception of a massive cost-overrun was never addressed and as the project advanced, a publicity blackout added commensurate mystery.’
    • ‘More and more governments are tightening controls on media freedom and information blackouts.’
    • ‘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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘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 same section prohibits insider trading of company securities by directors and senior executives during blackout periods.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Firstly, as many have already said, the holds do have blackout periods.’
      • ‘He can't disclose the fund's investments so far because a three-month blackout period is still in effect.’
      • ‘A shorter blackout period will surround Oct. 1, China's National Day, taking over cinemas from Sept. 20 to October 10.’
  • 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.’
    • ‘Explain to children at a young age what shallow-water blackout is and why they should never practice breath-hold diving’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Despite still suffering blackouts and mood swing, she succeeded in passing her exams.’
    • ‘He couldn't explain how it happened but he thought he must have had a blackout.’
    • ‘Pacemakers are usually used to treat an abnormally slow heartbeat which can cause dizziness, fainting or blackouts.’
    • ‘From the age of 35, Pat began experiencing blackouts and severe fatigue and eventually went for medical assessment.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her first step towards recovery came after a visit to a counsellor after she started experiencing 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He took another sip, sustained another blackout.’
    • ‘In February, up to seven prison staff suffered memory blackouts after their drinks were spiked during a night out.’
    • ‘He now suffered headaches and blackouts and had to see a neurosurgeon.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some known dissociative states induced by substance abuse include alcoholic blackouts and substance-induced amnestic disorder.’
    • ‘The vast majority of what is known about alcohol-induced blackouts is derived from research with hospitalized alcoholics.’
    • ‘When mixed with alcohol it can lead to blackouts and amnesia.’
    • ‘‘We weren't sure if they were micro naps or blackouts but they were happening every ten seconds,’ she said.’
    faint, fainting fit, loss of consciousness, coma, passing out, period of oblivion, swoon, collapse
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