Definition of ink in US English:



  • 1A colored fluid used for writing, drawing, printing, or duplicating.

    ‘the names are written in ink’
    ‘a picture executed in colored inks’
    • ‘Most tattoo materials - inks, ink cups, gloves and needles - are used only once to eliminate the possibility of contamination of materials.’
    • ‘The new bill will actually make use of colored inks, something the U.S. has been reluctant to adopt despite the prevalent use of colorful bills in other countries.’
    • ‘The artists have explored colour and texture with a variety of materials from inks, acrylic oils, pastels and mixed media.’
    • ‘Nicholson's drawing, using coloured ink and enamel paints shows a public park full of brightly coloured interconnecting tents.’
    • ‘Personalised letters, coloured inks, free pens, promises of free gifts, and even gold or silver envelopes are now routinely used by the commercial sector to attract the attention of potential customers.’
    • ‘On photo paper the results over-compensated for the lack of extra photographic inks, though plain paper printing was more impressive.’
    • ‘This assistance was made through the extension of credits for the purchase of printing presses, equipment, paper, inks, and supplies.’
    • ‘A porous paper may absorb a lot of the ink and as a result, the colors may be lighter.’
    • ‘A number of the works on exhibit are drawings or collages done on paper in bright colored inks or pastels, which are framed in the conventional manner.’
    • ‘Quickly Chelsea flipped open the message, it was stained with water and some of the ink had run, but all was still legible..’
    • ‘Still, I'd like to know that the ink and paper were tested for age.’
    • ‘Coloured ink, green especially, indicates that the sender of the letter spends quite a lot of his free time planning to poison the Scottish water supply.’
    • ‘In most printing inks, the solvents are oil-based, with petroleum-based oils most commonly used for this purpose.’
    • ‘The building up of ink is one of the best things about the ballpoint, and who cannot remember the smell of the ink as you build up sticky, rich layer after layer.’
    • ‘To minimize odors, most of the posters are printed with water-soluble ink, but there are occasions that oil-based inks and enamels will be used.’
    • ‘Photographic paper doesn't come cheap, the inks are expensive, and the ink droplets are visible.’
    • ‘These new products include soy-based lubricants, wood adhesives, printing inks, solvents, building composite materials and paints, among many others.’
    • ‘It involves showing people words printed in different coloured inks, and asking them to say what the colour of the ink was.’
    • ‘It is only a matter of time before some of these new inks become routinely available for printing high grade office paper.’
    • ‘Collusion among established printers influenced price through the control of raw materials and retail goods including inks, papers, forms, account books and printing supplies.’
    1. 1.1informal Publicity in the written media.
      ‘the story got lots of ink and plenty of air time’
      • ‘A $54 million start generated lots of ink about the film being one of the summer's big hits.’
      • ‘Now that we have some distance, it's worth considering why her emotional saga drew so much ink and air and what its impact was.’
      • ‘The story got plenty of ink and lots of time on the tube.’
      • ‘With more women in the media eager to cover the story, the gender gap got lots of ink.’
      • ‘The Bahama Journal gave them a lot ink.’
      • ‘He got a lot of ink, posthumously, due to a November '98 struggle with two officers.’
      • ‘But if you devote a lot of ink and a lot of energy, then there has to be something cooking on the fire.’
      • ‘In the current era, it's rare for much ink or air time to challenge the right of the U.S. government to directly intervene in other countries.’
      • ‘They forgot to mention Consumating or TrueDater which are both getting a lot of ink recently.’
      • ‘He sort of climbed on this white horse, got himself a lot of ink and a lot of press, and some say a lot of political capital.’
      • ‘Besides… where else could I chat with the public without paying for ink or air time?’
      • ‘A lot of ink and server space is spent on connecting Projects and Next Actions.’
      • ‘The US media is expending a lot of ink and air time evaluating the potential economic effects of George Bush's new tax-cut proposal.’
      • ‘On each occasion, they got themselves lots of ink and airtime and contributed nothing but oversize vulgarity to the scene they sought to obscure.’
      • ‘And like their mother, her three children have gotten a lot of ink in the tabloids.’
      • ‘But only one of them has been getting much ink and air time.’
      • ‘More recently, he's gotten a lot of ink over his plans to sell water from under his ranch in the Panhandle.’
    2. 1.2informal A tattoo or tattoos.
      ‘I took my shirt off to display my ink’
      • ‘I like a chick with nice ink.’
      • ‘I would highly recommend this place to anyone interested in some awesome ink!’
      • ‘Some of the best ink I've ever seen is on a guy: it's a full sleeve that spreads on to his chest.’
      • ‘"My ink? Here, look," she said as she tugged her top up over her shoulders.’
      • ‘Anyone who would choose Where The Wild Things Are for his ink has to be an awesome person.’
      • ‘My mouth was hanging open when I saw your avatar, that ink is amazing!’
      • ‘Her ink is so colorful and beautiful! I am love with it!’
      • ‘She just got some awesome ink on her ring finger.’
      • ‘There's a whole lot of people walking around with some awful, awful ink on their bodies.’
      • ‘Some people have some pretty terrible ink and that's a huge turn-off.’
    3. 1.3Zoology A black liquid ejected by a cuttlefish, octopus, or squid to confuse a predator.
      • ‘Sachets of deliciously black squid ink are available in fishmongers or delis such as Valvona & Crolla.’
      • ‘This strategy is similar to the way an octopus releases ink as a decoy.’
      • ‘Mix squid ink into the first portion until combined.’
      • ‘Half my guests don't eat meat and are more than happy to devour black empanditas filled with calamari plied with saffron and squid ink.’
      • ‘It's a bit like a squid releasing ink and escaping when it is being chased.’
      • ‘Dilute the squid ink with 100 ml boiling water and set aside.’
      • ‘The risotto ‘Nero and Oro’ with the black squid's ink risotto with the gold leaf topping deserves a photo before you eat.’
      • ‘If an octopus releases ink in a small aquarium a partial water change is strongly recommended to protect the health of the octopus.’
      • ‘In a bowl, combine flour, milk and squid ink and mix well.’


  • 1with object Mark (words or a design) with ink.

    ‘the cork has the name of the château inked onto the side’
    • ‘Iowa State Printing Services uses address software and equipment addresses are inked directly onto mail pieces instead of affixing labels to help departments qualify for these bulk rates.’
    • ‘Lies, insults and rumours, which are unleashed at campaign meetings by various political parties have only served to keep some would-be voters away from inking their names to the register.’
    • ‘I held it's smooth wooden end and started to ink my thoughts onto parchment.’
    • ‘Use a rubber stamp to ink the image repeatedly onto white cardstock; cut images out.’
    • ‘Someone inks a beard over her ‘employee of the month’ photo.’
    • ‘As per tradition, kids are inking farewell messages on each other's uniforms.’
    intoxicated, inebriated, drunken, befuddled, incapable, tipsy, the worse for drink, under the influence, maudlin
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Cover (type or a stamp) with ink before printing.
      ‘a raised image is inked to produce an impression’
      • ‘And as the block was not inked for this procedure it is called blind printing.’
      • ‘After the design was finished, the plate was inked.’
      • ‘She cut up copper sheets, inked them and printed from them onto found papers.’
      • ‘The plate was inked, and the design transferred to tissue.’
      • ‘To do this, ink the stamp and place inked side up on the table.’
      • ‘Push your stamp onto the inked Plexiglas and slightly move it back and forth into the ink.’
      • ‘These formes are then placed on the printing press, inked, and printed onto sheets of paper or parchment.’
      • ‘Some would say a collagraph is an intaglio type of print created with a press, while an image taken from the raised, inked surface of a collage is called a collage relief print.’
      • ‘For a go-getter like Eileen, they had better get the plane warmed up and ready, and the Canadian Embassy should get the visa stamps inked!’
    2. 1.2ink something out Obliterate something, especially writing, with ink.
      ‘he carefully inked out each word’
      • ‘‘Words, phrases, entire lines were inked out,’ Hutson wrote.’
      • ‘Also underneath the table, there was a piece of parchment, lying face up; a messy scrawl was inked out.’
  • 2North American informal Sign (a contract)

    ‘she's just inked a deal to host her own talk show’
    • ‘But the pull of Celtic remains hugely powerful for a man who will become the club's longest serving non-British Isles player should he ink a new deal.’
    • ‘Germany has already inked such a deal, and plans to replace the lost energy capacity with offshore windmill parks.’
    • ‘That, in turn, has maximized the number of sets tuned in to the league, which last year inked a TV contract worth about $4.6 billion, double its previous deal.’
    • ‘For nearly a year, Boise based Albertson's had resisted inking a multiyear contract that included a heavy dose of new software.’
    • ‘ATI Technologies, one of the leading manufacturers of graphics chips, said it had inked a deal with design firm Intrinsity that could allow future ATI graphics chips to run at four times their current speeds.’
    • ‘Never mind the fact that he inked a new three-year deal in the past 10 days.’
    • ‘A deal for purchase by India of T - 90 tanks was inked by Russian state corporation Uralvagonzavod and India's Defense Ministry.’
    • ‘Nor does the Times ever say if the FDA's funding has fallen since the 1992 deal was inked, although it does peg the agency's current budget at $1.8 billion.’
    • ‘The contract was inked on October 26, 1995, at the kind of White House Oval Office signing ceremony that usually marks a major piece of legislation or a military or diplomatic pact.’
    • ‘Thus far, Philips has inked agreements with seven top online music providers to make their services available on the new Philips audio product.’
    • ‘It has also inked agreements with institutions and organizations in the United States and Italy on intellectual property co-operation.’
    • ‘And a majority of the participants inked new deals at the world's largest film festival.’
    • ‘The university had just inked a contract with its utility to build a cogeneration plant on campus.’
    • ‘In 1999, Sony inked a potentially revolutionary deal with 31 A-list Hollywood writers, promising 2% of gross receipts once the studio had recouped costs.’
    • ‘Howard said the deal could be worth even more than a similar contract inked last year that is worth A $25 billion in exports over the next two decades.’
    • ‘The Karnataka Government has inked the land lease and State support agreement thereby paving the way for the project to finally take off.’
    • ‘The Taiwanese carrier inked a letter of intent in January to install the system on its long-haul fleet of Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A340-300 aircraft.’
    • ‘Not yet has he signed a free agent to a deal that pays anything more than $2.35M a year, and only once has he inked a multi-year contract with a free agent.’
    • ‘The deal that is to create the country's largest new generation private bank has been inked.’
    • ‘Not bad for a band whose lineup has only been together a couple of years and who inked a big record deal with just a handful of live appearances under their belts.’
    1. 2.1 Secure the services of (someone) with a contract.
      ‘he has been inked as host for next year's ceremony’
      • ‘Before the lockout, the Penguins already had inked Mark Recchi - who's making a second stop in the Steel City - harkening back to when the Pens trotted out a star-studded lineup.’
      • ‘Denver is so high on him that they inked him to a guaranteed deal with a club option for next year…’
      • ‘And Washington was unwanted on the free-agent market for months before the Bears inked him!’
      • ‘Andy is rumored to be seeking a five-year deal, which would be pretty disastrous for the team that inks him.’
      • ‘So the decision whether or not to ink him to a long-term deal goes beyond just what happens when the ball is snapped.’
      • ‘Yet here we are two weeks into the signing period and no team has made a peep regarding inking him to a contract.’
      • ‘According to Variety, Alan Cumming (Eyes Wide Shut, Spy Kids) has been inked to play the blue-skinned mutant teleporter.’
      • ‘Movie executives enjoyed the Rock's work so much that Universal inked him to a deal to star in ‘The Scorpion King,’ a prequel to ‘The Mummy Returns.’’
      • ‘Little wonder hers was among the first names to be inked onto the Great Britain team sheet this time around.’
      • ‘Tampa Bay made St. Louis one of the team's highest paid players in the offseason, inking him to a two-year contract for $2.5 million.’
      • ‘He has already picked up its option to represent her, and is working on inking her to a recording contract.’
      • ‘Armstrong hopes to crack the Stampeders' line-up this season, while Sullivan will look to be inked by the Blue Bombers in the near future if he continues to impress the staff in Winnipeg.’


Middle English enke, inke, from Old French enque, via late Latin from Greek enkauston, denoting the purple ink used by Roman emperors for signatures, from enkaiein ‘burn in’.