black: Meaning and Definition of


Pronunciation: (blak), [key]
— adj., n., v., adv. -er, -est,
  1. lacking hue and brightness; absorbing light without reflecting any of the rays composing it.
  2. characterized by absence of light; enveloped in darkness: a black night.
  3. (sometimes cap.)
    1. pertaining or belonging to any of the various populations characterized by dark skin pigmentation, specifically the dark-skinned peoples of Africa, Oceania, and Australia.
    2. African-American.
  4. soiled or stained with dirt: That shirt was black within an hour.
  5. gloomy; pessimistic; dismal: a black outlook.
  6. deliberately; harmful; inexcusable: a black lie.
  7. boding ill; sullen or hostile; threatening: black words; black looks.
  8. (of coffee or tea) without milk or cream.
  9. without any moral quality or goodness; evil; wicked: His black heart has concocted yet another black deed.
  10. indicating censure, disgrace, or liability to punishment: a black mark on one's record.
  11. marked by disaster or misfortune: black areas of drought; Black Friday.
  12. wearing black or dark clothing or armor: the black prince.
  13. based on the grotesque, morbid, or unpleasant aspects of life: black comedy; black humor.
  14. (of a check mark, flag, etc.) done or written in black to indicate, as on a list, that which is undesirable, sub-standard, potentially dangerous, etc.: Pilots put a black flag next to the ten most dangerous airports.
  15. illegal or underground: The black economy pays no taxes.
  16. showing a profit; not showing any losses: the first black quarter in two years.
  17. deliberately false or intentionally misleading: black propaganda.
  18. boycotted, as certain goods or products by a trade union.
  19. (of steel) in the form in which it comes from the rolling mill or forge; unfinished.
  20. completely either one way or another, without any intermediate state.
  1. the color at one extreme end of the scale of grays, opposite to white, absorbing all light incident upon it. Cf. white (def. 20).
  2. (sometimes cap.)
    1. a member of any of various dark-skinned peoples, esp. those of Africa, Oceania, and Australia.
    2. African-American.
  3. black clothing, esp. as a sign of mourning: He wore black at the funeral.
  4. the dark-colored men or pieces or squares.
  5. black pigment: lamp black.
  6. See
  7. a horse or other animal that is entirely black.
  8. I want that agreement in black and white.
    1. print or writing:I want that agreement in black and white.
    2. a monochromatic picture done with black and white only.
    3. a chocolate soda containing vanilla ice cream.
  9. operating at a profit or being out of debt (opposed to in the red): New production methods put the company in the black.
  1. to make black; put black on; blacken.
  2. to boycott or ban.
  3. to polish (shoes, boots, etc.) with blacking.
  1. to become black; take on a black color; blacken.
  2. He blacked out at the sight of blood.
    1. to lose consciousness:He blacked out at the sight of blood.
    2. to erase, obliterate, or suppress:News reports were blacked out.
    3. to forget everything relating to a particular event, person, etc.:When it came to his war experiences he blacked out completely.
    4. extinguish all of the stage lights.
    5. to make or become inoperable:to black out the radio broadcasts from the U.S.
    6. obscure by concealing all light in defense against air raids.
    7. Radio and impose a broadcast blackout on (an area).
    8. to withdraw or cancel (a special fare, sale, discount, etc.) for a designated period:The special air fare discount will be blacked out by the airlines over the holiday weekend.
  1. (of coffee or tea) served without milk or cream.


Pronunciation: (blak), [key]
  1. 1886–1971, U.S. political official: associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court 1937–71.
  2. 1728–99, Scottish physician and chemist.
  3. See
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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