Definition of wink in US English:



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  • 1Close and open one eye quickly, typically to indicate that something is a joke or a secret or as a signal of affection or greeting.

    ‘he winked at Nicole as he passed’
    • ‘He winked and laughed at his joke, putting a friendly arm around her shoulders.’
    • ‘He took the trouble to wink and then closed his eyes, instantly falling asleep.’
    • ‘‘I know I'm in better shape now than when I was younger,’ she winks, flexing a taut bicep.’
    • ‘Jason glanced in my direction, and I saw him wink quickly.’
    • ‘Before I could signal my incredulity he winked and nodded at a diagram pinned to the wall.’
    • ‘He glanced at Dallas and winked as Calida opened the gate and walked over.’
    • ‘He winked back and they both grabbed their stuff, as quickly as they could.’
    • ‘Melayn nodded and winked ever so slightly at Hazel before closing her eyes.’
    • ‘She handed him a piece of paper, winked, closed her locker, turned and left, all in one instant.’
    • ‘Then, winking to show that she was joking, she plunged back into the crowd.’
    • ‘‘She seems very keen,’ Neil says and winks at me.’
    • ‘It was almost like my old dad was winking at me to help me notice him.’
    • ‘The only way I can wink properly is if I pry one eye open and prop it up with one finger.’
    • ‘He quickly looked up at her and winked as a tiny silver box poked up from behind the desk.’
    • ‘April winked and I hurried after, opening my mouth and screeching out my lines.’
    • ‘He sat up, examined my face, winked, and dressed quickly to duck out of the room for a wash, down the hall.’
    • ‘The smiley icon appeared momentarily, one of the eyes closing quickly as it winked.’
    • ‘I turned around as she winked and closed the door, laughing.’
    • ‘Kriss yelled down, eyes closed as she grinned, then winked and gave a peace sign.’
    • ‘Blowing him a kiss, I winked and tore away from him, making my way quickly home.’
    blink, flutter, bat
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    1. 1.1wink at Pretend not to notice (something bad or illegal)
      ‘the authorities winked at their illegal trade’
      • ‘Both have had their misdeeds winked at, one way or another, by Uncle Sam.’
      • ‘We wink at all this, and yet like to pretend that we are respectable.’
      • ‘If the individual does not speak out against untouchability, it means he is winking at its practice.’
      • ‘From time they were boys, others have fawned over them, winked at their flaws, excused their peccadilloes.’
      turn a blind eye to, close one's eyes to, shut one's eyes to, ignore, overlook, disregard, pretend not to notice
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    2. 1.2 (of a bright object or a light) shine or flash intermittently.
      • ‘But when the Chevy's right signal winked and the car peeled off toward Crow Canyon, I followed.’
      • ‘The sight of an Austin Metro powering down the road at 15 mph with its indicator winking mockingly at the 30 cars queuing up behind is guaranteed to set the blood boiling.’
      • ‘These recordings are museum pieces, pulled up from the sticky earth, their crazy-diamond shine still winking through the clay after thirty years’
      • ‘The surge had caused something to power on in the craft, and a tiny blue light was winking on and off.’
      • ‘At night, ropes of tiny white lights wink among the vines.’
      • ‘The stars twinkled back, winking and flickering.’
      • ‘Screens and lights winked on as if in greeting as she stepped inside.’
      • ‘It was of the same color and material as the robe she wore previously, and the gold chain still dangled at her waist, diamonds winking and shining brighter than ever.’
      • ‘The windows around wink and flash in cryptograms, a galactic console of messages coded in light, in diamonds and topazes and amber.’
      • ‘Six of the turrets swiveled up to face it, and a person with sharp eyes or a ship with sharp sensors would notice tiny red lights winking on and off around the turrets.’
      • ‘Soft flecks of light winked off the frames of his gold-rimmed glasses and the heavy gold ring in his left ear.’
      • ‘Later that evening, as the sun sets and lights wink on in the surrounding hills, I set out to visit the city's most popular bar.’
      • ‘In a few seconds he was high enough to enjoy a panoramic vista of city lights winking below.’
      • ‘After a few minutes I saw a green light winking languorously at me, and realised that his main computer was on sleep mode.’
      • ‘The streetlights and buildings pass me by in a solemn procession winking with fading lights.’
      • ‘Stars glimmered in the sky, and golden lights winked on and off in the now peaceful black forest.’
      • ‘I can still see him, just, brake lights winking as he catches up with a line of cars ahead.’
      • ‘He saw the status lights wink on letting him know that his people understood the orders.’
      • ‘Draw a little closer, and you can see daylight winking through.’
      • ‘Night grew thick around them as the village's lights winked out in the horizon.’
      sparkle, twinkle, flash, flicker, glitter, gleam, shimmer, shine
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  • An act of closing and opening one eye quickly, typically as a signal.

    ‘Barney gave him a knowing wink’
    • ‘Normally these deals are signed with a handshake and a wink.’
    • ‘There are no winks or hidden gestures in the music.’
    • ‘‘Cici, it was fun, thank you for at least taking the chance with my party,’ He said with a wink, and kissed her cheek.’
    • ‘Pretty rude, I think, so to clarify my intent I give a cheeky wink and nodding-back-a-pint gesture.’
    • ‘Morning gleams upon the fields like the wink of love.’
    • ‘He told her with a wink as he gestured for her to come inside.’
    • ‘Dan gave her a salute and a wink, and they all turned their attention back to the two left in the ring.’
    • ‘My facial expression and a wink says it all for me.’
    • ‘Indeed, such is the power of gesture that a wink or a sarcastic intonation inevitably reframes and inverts the ‘literal’ meaning.’
    • ‘This caused Isis to smile - the wink was a gesture so unlike Raine that it was a pleasant surprise.’
    • ‘‘Good enough to eat,’ he added with a wink and in a manner that can only be described as sarcastic.’
    • ‘‘She's just being shy,’ Grant slurred at Bryant with a wink before turning back to Janet with a glint in his eye.’
    • ‘‘It's happened before, it'll happen again,’ he said with a wink and a kiss to her cheek.’
    • ‘He only wondered if the wink meant more than a friendly gesture amongst winning blackjack players.’
    • ‘The emoticon is a weak substitute for a coy gesture or a lusty wink.’
    • ‘They had fought at times to a standstill, but always came out of it with some mutual respect, a handshake, a smile and a wink.’
    • ‘A wink of an eye is a gesture coded with multiple meanings; it also seems to be the easiest bodily sign to simulate through animation.’
    • ‘I circled the hot room, over and over again, looking out for my friend, all the while receiving smiles, winks, and knowing looks from all manner of alternatively minded people.’
    • ‘She punctuated the point by kissing him on the cheek and giving him a slow wink.’
    • ‘I gave them a surreptitious wink and a salute and then turned back to the menu, a self - satisfied smirk on my face.’


  • as easy as winking

    • informal Very easy or easily.

      • ‘Staying here is a journey into a bygone era, when life moved at a gentle pace and communion with the self was as easy as winking.’
      • ‘Next to our compound were the Russians, they were most amusing and just did not give damn for anyone, and they used to get out of their compound as easy as winking and right under the eyes of the sentries.’
      • ‘Hiring a car with Webcarhire is as easy as winking.’
      • ‘Henry had always made friends as easy as winking.’
      • ‘So users should find it as easy as winking to get at the information they need, when they need it and in the form they need.’
  • in the wink of an eye (or in a wink)

    • Very quickly.

      • ‘In theory, they spread an infinite distance, and can manifest clear across the universe in the wink of an eye.’
      • ‘Being a Newcastle fan I know first hand Kieron's strengths and weaknesses, I know that he has bags of pace, can skin players in the wink of an eye, can create and score goals.’
      • ‘She's a master of surprise, able in the wink of an eye to transport the reader from tranquil normality to stark terror.’
      • ‘‘There is an atmosphere of depression at the club but it can all change in the wink of an eye,’ he said.’
      • ‘The listing was withdrawn but I would have purchased it in a wink.’
      very quickly, very soon, in a second, in a minute, in a moment, in a trice, in a flash, in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, in no time, in less than no time, in no time at all, before you know it, in a very short time
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  • not sleep (or get) a wink (or not get a wink of sleep)

    • Not sleep at all.

      • ‘So restless that she could not sleep a wink and therefore had left her cozy bedroom.’
      • ‘I watched the door all night and did not sleep a wink.’
      • ‘I declare I shall not sleep a wink tonight, I am so happy!’
      • ‘The afternoon before the game, I was so nervous that I did not get a wink of sleep - it is the first time that has happened in my whole career.’
      • ‘I did not sleep a wink that night but we won for Uncle Sam.’


Old English wincian ‘close the eyes’, of Germanic origin; related to German winken ‘to wave’, also to wince.