verb

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

    with object ‘he blinked his eyes nervously’
    ‘she blinked, momentarily blinded’
    • ‘His mouth was open slightly and his eyes where wide open and not blinking.’
    • ‘The door opened and a tall thin man appeared, Koishi blinked and quickly stepped away.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She blinked open her bloodshot eyes and didn't really seem to see me.’
    • ‘‘Okay, my turn,’ I said quickly, blinking rapidly to make up for the past few seconds.’
    • ‘We pushed it open, and stood blinking in the dark of the hall.’
    • ‘She says it all very quickly and I blink as I take it in.’
    • ‘I had my head lolled to one side, mouth open, eyes weakly blinking.’
    • ‘It took him a little while, but he finally opened his eyes, blinking tiredly.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He blinked quickly and then turned to look at the half open door where his mother was leaning inside.’
    • ‘After a few minutes, the door swung open, and Neko blinked up at me.’
    • ‘His voice remains level, but he blinks quickly and hard.’
    • ‘The man blinked, before opening the door wider and ushering me inside.’
    • ‘He opened his eyes and quickly blinked as the rainwater seeped into his eyes.’
    • ‘She felt tears bristling again, and took a few deep breaths, blinking quickly.’
    • ‘She waited for it to go away; she blinked, shut her eyes and opened them again to no avail.’
    • ‘I nodded quickly, blinking as I began looking ahead of me again.’
    • ‘Julia opened her eyes blinking up at the dark ceiling of her bedroom.’
    • ‘Arielle blinked twice before opening her eyes fully and staring at Luke with her usual cheery smile.’
    shut and open, flutter, flicker, wink, bat
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1blink backwith object Try to control or prevent (tears) by shutting and opening the eyes quickly.
      ‘Elizabeth blinked back tears’
      • ‘Her gray eyes filled with tears, but she blinked them back resolutely.’
      • ‘She lay there for a few seconds before blinking the tears back.’
      • ‘She drew in a breath, and blinked her tears back.’
      • ‘A frown appeared on his face, as he desperately tried to blink his tears back.’
      • ‘I blinked my tears back and followed behind Matt.’
      • ‘Tears threatened to flood her eyes and she blinked them back, only to encourage them to overflow.’
      • ‘My eyes began flooding with tears, but I tried to blink them back.’
      • ‘Emily found her eyes full of tears, and blinked them back.’
      • ‘I felt my eyes mist at the mention of my father's name, and then blinked the tears back.’
      • ‘She looked like she wanted to cry but she blinked the tears back.’
    2. 1.2blink atusually with negative React to (something) with surprise or disapproval.
      ‘he doesn't blink at the unsavory aspects of his subject’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Well, purchasing power is up for sure and nobody blinks at a thousand rupees for a ticket anymore.’
      • ‘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?’
      be surprised, look twice, be startled, be shocked
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 Back down from a confrontation.
      ‘the government blinked in the face of a coordinated public sector strike’
      • ‘Next day when the Senators asked similar questions he did not blink.’
      • ‘The big oil companies did not blink and the value of their stocks has continued to rise.’
  • 2(of a light or light source) shine intermittently or unsteadily.

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

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

    ‘he was observing her every blink’
    • ‘A couple of blinks as he looks from the man next to them to Rama and back…’
    • ‘Last night it emerged that police may seek to interview the girl even though she can only communicate using blinks and facial expressions.’
    • ‘Voters are seen as a strange and volatile lot, who could turn bad at the blink of an eye.’
    • ‘A cat will say ‘hello’ with a slow blink, the polite cat will look away after it has blinked.’
    • ‘I take long blinks and rarely look at the camera's screen.’
    • ‘Rachel and Annette both halted and turned, Rachel giving a blink of surprise at the tall and handsome man approaching.’
    • ‘In a single blink, Justine had analyzed him and the situation she was in.’
    • ‘With a startled blink, Ana looked behind her to find none other then the orange pig-tailed little girl.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is an eye open to the reader as it translates its complex turns, blinks, and refraction onto the page.’
    • ‘Now, with a mind that is probably as sharp as it ever was, the only movements she can make are blinks and small yawns.’
    • ‘The blue eyes closed, staying shut longer and tighter than a blink would require.’
    • ‘But she watched her mother blink in surprise and take an involuntary step back away from her.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Trials with excessive eye movements, blinks, or blockage were rejected.’
    • ‘Vicki caught his blink of shock and silently began to pray that he could help them.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In a projected image of a street scene various items are removed and displaced (seemingly at random) between tenth-of-a-second artificial blinks.’
    • ‘So far as the vehicles go, colors can be changed in what amounts to a physical blink of an eye.’
    1. 1.1 A moment's hesitation.
      ‘Thompson would have given her all this without a blink’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If I would get the chance I would fight them tomorrow without a blink of my eye.’
      • ‘She accepted the whole thing without a blink… although I can't say the same about my brother and father.’
  • 2A momentary gleam 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.’
    • ‘Yesterday we had rain, rain and more rain, a little blink of sunshine and then thick mist!’
    • ‘The car responds with a blink of its lights and a short shriek.’
    • ‘It was of similar shape as a fighter and had a flashing red light similar to passenger jet's blink.’
    • ‘A fluorescent light, for instance, actually blinks on and off sixty times a second, but most people perceive the light as continuous.’
    • ‘Through the veil she saw the blink of gold, the flash of a silver ring on a pale wraith's finger.’
    • ‘It should come as no surprise that, when the slightest blink of yellow light came into view, I recklessly sped towards it.’
    • ‘She gave Sasha a short blink from her light and heard the car motor start.’
    • ‘Then there it was again, a blink of light in the grass about three yards away.’
    sparkle, twinkle, glint, gleam, shimmer, glimmer, flicker, blink, flash
    View synonyms

Phrases

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

    • Very quickly.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He didn't blink an eye when purchasing a pair of Italian loafers for more than a thousand US dollars.’
      • ‘She was grating Parmesan, and didn't blink an eye.’
      • ‘Our friends don't blink an eye at a $2,000 dinette set.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Emma, Jeff, Tina and Darcy don't blink an eye and raise their glasses along with me.’
      • ‘We don't blink an eye today when we see women doing what would once be considered jobs for the boys.’
  • on the blink

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

      ‘the computer's on the blink’
      • ‘In exasperation Alan finally said: ‘Either there's something wrong with your modem or your computer's on the blink.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Nowadays when your solid-state, instant-on color TV goes on the blink, you phone the TV repairman for an appointment.’
      • ‘The chip fat filtering machine went on the blink and a manager decided to cut corners.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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

/bliNGk//blɪŋk/