• IPA: /ˈwɪŋk/

wink (winks, present participle winking; past and past participle winked)

  1. (obsolete, intransitive) To close one's eyes in sleep.
    • 1609, William Shakespeare, Sonnet 43:
      When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,
      For all the day they view things unrespected;
      But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee,
      And darkly bright are bright in dark directed.
  2. (intransitive) To close one's eyes.
    • 1593, William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis:
      Art thou ashamed to kiss? then wink again,
      And I will wink; so shall the day seem night […]
    • 1816, Walter Scott, The Black Dwarf, Chapter the Fifth:
      I kept my eyes shut, after once glancing at him; and, I protest, I thought I saw him still, though I winked as close as ever I could.
  3. (intransitive) Usually followed by at: to look the other way, to turn a blind eye.
    Synonyms: connive, shut one's eyes
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: […], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970 ↗:
      Some trot about to bear false witness, and say anything for money; and though judges know of it, yet for a bribe they wink at it, and suffer false contracts to prevail against equity.
    • 1633, George Herbert, "The Church," The Temple, Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations:
      And yet, as though he knew it not,
      knowledge winks, and lets his humours reign […]
    • 1694 or before, John Tillotson, "Sermon I: The Wisdom of Being Religious" in The Works of Dr. John Tillotson, Vol I (1772):
      Therefore the scripture represents wicked men as without understanding […] they are not blind; but they wink; […] though they know God, yet they do not glorify him as God […]
    • 1693, John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education, § 79:
      But whenever obstinacy, which is an open defiance, appears, that cannot be winked at, or neglected, but must, in the first instance, be subdued and mastered; only care must be had, that we mistake not ; and we must be sure it is obstinacy, and nothing else.
  4. (intransitive) To close one's eyes quickly and involuntarily; to blink.
    • 1861 George, Silas Marner, Chapter VI:
      The pipes began to be puffed in a silence which had an air of severity; the more important customers, who drank spirits and sat nearest the fire, staring at each other as if a bet were depending on the first man who ‘’’winked’’’ […]
  5. (transitive, intransitive) To blink with only one eye as a message, signal, or suggestion, usually with an implication of conspiracy. (When transitive, the object may be the eye being winked, or the message being conveyed.)
    He winked at me. She winked her eye. He winked his assent.
    • 1912, Edwin L. Sabin, With Carson and Frémont, Chapter VIII:
      Oliver saw Kit Carson wink at the lieutenant and Lucien Maxwell, as the speech reached them, and it was evident that these three leaders did not believe the Indian tales. Consequently he himself decided that the reports of "evil spirits" awaiting were all bosh.
  6. (intransitive) To gleam fitfully or intermitently; to twinkle; to flicker.
    • 1899, Will T. Whitlock, "The Circumflex," Overland Monthly, Vol. XXXIII, second series:
      Down in the bottoms the sycamore and cottonwood are casting off their yellowing leaves; but the white oak will cling to her gorgeous finery till the blizzard comes shrieking up the gulch to wrest it from her, or until the winking prairie-fire leaps among her branches, and mounting upward to the highest limbs, finally leaves the vain beauty a blackened skeleton.
    • 1920, Katherine Mansfield, Letter to Richard Murray (ca. September 19), Vincent O. Sullivan & Margaret Scott, The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield, Vol. 4 (1996):
      Her kitchen is a series of Still Lives; the copper pans wink on the walls.
Synonyms Translations
  • French: cligner de l’œil, faire un clin d'œil
  • German: zuzwinkern (to somebody), zwinkern
  • Italian: ammiccare, strizzare l'occhio, fare l'occhiolino
  • Portuguese: piscar (o olho)
  • Russian: подми́гивать
  • Spanish: guiñar, picar el ojo (colloquial) (Canarias)
  • Russian: мерца́ть

wink (plural winks)

  1. An act of winking (a blinking of only one eye), or a message sent by winking.
  2. A brief period of sleep; especially forty winks.
    • 1919, W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, chapter 25
      I couldn't bear to leave him where he is. I shouldn't sleep a wink for thinking of him.
  3. A brief time; an instant.
  4. The smallest possible amount.
    • 1899, Jack London, "The Men of Forty-Nine: 'Malemute Kid" Deals with a Duel," Overland Monthly, Vol. XXXIII, second series:
      It’s many’s the time I shot the selfsame rifiie before, and it’s many ’s the time after, but niver a wink of the same have I seen. 'T was the sight of a lifetime.
  5. A subtle allusion.
    The film includes a wink to wartime rationing.
Translations Translations Noun

wink (plural winks)

  1. A disc used in the game of tiddlywinks.

wink (plural winks)

  1. (Chiefly British) Periwinkle.

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