Definition of in black and white in US English:

in black and white


  • 1In writing or in print, and regarded as more reliable, credible, or formal than by word of mouth.

    ‘getting her contract down in black and white’
    • ‘On the other hand, unlike the latter, its independence was laid down in black and white.’
    • ‘Though this dependence was glossed over, it was there in black and white for anyone who chose to read the paper carefully enough.’
    • ‘But the bill says in black and white that if you share so much as a single tune with your pals on the Internet-as millions do every day-you are a felon.’
    • ‘Of course, the charts were printed right there in black and white, and they were always dominated by stuff like this.’
    • ‘There are no gray areas in a properly prepared contract; everything is spelled out in black and white.’
    • ‘It is there clearly in black and white - Nietzche states that a good social order demands hierarchy and slavery.’
    • ‘There's no denying it if it's there in black and white.’
    • ‘It is in black and white - the principal act is the Social Welfare Act.’
    • ‘It's all there in black and white, in leaked European Union documents which are now published on the Internet.’
    • ‘After reading it in black and white, you'll find it nearly impossible, not to search the Net for some of these famous paintings.’
    in print, printed, written down, set down, on paper, committed to paper, recorded, on record, documented, clearly defined, explicitly defined, plainly defined
    View synonyms
  • 2In terms of clearly defined opposing principles or issues.

    ‘children think in black and white, good and bad’
    • ‘Their understanding is simplistic and they see rules in black and white terms.’
    • ‘Analysis of issues was unnecessary because the world was painted in black and white.’
    • ‘It's curious that those who talk about life being all about shades of grey suddenly see the world in black and white when it comes to corporate capitalism.’
    • ‘I think we are living in a world where people want to see things in black and white terms.’
    • ‘They crave books which confirm mythical notions of a magnificent past, in which villains and heroes are clearly drawn in black and white.’
    • ‘Once exquisitely sensitive to racial political correctness, she now sees the world in black and white.’
    • ‘You tend to see the world in black and white, right or wrong.’
    • ‘You cannot see everything in this world in black and white terms.’
    • ‘Doping in sport tends to be presented in black and white terms, but this case illustrated that it is not always so simple.’
    • ‘Depressed people, Rita says, see things in black and white.’
    in absolute terms, unequivocally, without shades of grey, categorically, uncompromisingly, unconditionally, unambiguously, clearly, positively, straightforwardly, definitely, definitively
    View synonyms