Meaning of BLACK in English

I. ˈblak adjective

( -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English blak, from Old English blæc; akin to Old High German blah black, Old Norse blakra to blink, Latin flagrare to burn, Greek phlegein, Sanskrit bharga radiance, Old English bǣl fire, pyre — more at bald


a. : of the color black : having the color of soot or coal

black cloth

black as ebony

b. : very dark in color

his face black with rage — T.B.Costain

c. of written or printed letters : characterized by thickness of form and consequent intense contrast with the white of a page

a heavy black type

d. : covered or darkened with numerous dark objects close together

the … ceiling was … black with flies — Ann Bridge

the boxcars going north would be black with harvesters sitting on the top — Meridel Le Sueur


a. of human beings

(1) : having darkly pigmented skin, hair, and eyes : dark-complexioned : brunet

whether the writer … be a black or a fair man — Joseph Addison

(2) : dark in comparison to the average complexion of a group : swarthy

a black Irishman

(3) : being a member of a group or race characterized by dark pigmentation

organized Negro regiments commanded by black officers

especially : negroid — compare brown 2a, colored , white , yellow

b. : of, belonging to, consisting of, or connected with black, especially negroid, people

black Africa

black races

especially : having a large Negro population

a black belt

c. : advocating more rights for Negroes — used especially in reference to the slavery controversy of the 19th century in the U.S.

black abolitionist

black Republican


a. : characterized by wearing black clothes or black armor

the black knight

b. : of, belonging to, or being a member of a group characterized or formerly characterized by wearing black: as

(1) : clerical in politics

(2) : fascist

the red and black totalitarians — Mark Starr

— see blackshirt

4. : soiled with dirt : dirty

how black your hands are

the pot calls the kettle black


a. : characterized by the absence of light or the presence of very little light

a black night

: reflecting or transmitting little or no light

black water

black glass

b. of coffee : served without cream or milk and sometimes also without sugar


a. : outrageously wicked : deserving unmitigated condemnation

a black deed

a black heart

a black villain

a moralist to whom everything is either black or white

sometimes : dishonorable , discreditable

b. : expressing or indicating disgrace, dishonor, discredit, or guilt sometimes through symbolic use of an object that is black in color

a black mark for tardiness

with evidence so black against him — Charlotte Armstrong

7. : connected with some baneful aspect of the supernatural, especially the devil

a black curse

black magic

the black art


a. : unrelievedly sad, gloomy, or calamitous

black despair

things are looking black

the autumn of 1776 was a black season for the Continental Army — J.D.Hart

b. sometimes capitalized , of a day : marked by the occurrence of a disaster

on September 24, 1869, when Jay Gould, James Fisk, Jr., and their associates effected the partial corner in gold that ended so disastrously in the panic of black Friday — S.A.Nelson

9. : expressing or characterized by menace or angry discontent : sullen , hostile

he gave me a black look

black resentment filled his heart — Miriam James

10. : being such to the greatest possible extent : extreme , unqualified , utter

it was a black born fool I had for a son — J.M.Synge

they were all black strangers to me — Mary Deasy

11. : constituting, committing, or connected with a violation of an official quota, price ceiling, rationing restriction, or other public regulation : illicit , illegal

the black market

black gasoline


[short for blackleg (I) ]

chiefly Britain : subject to boycott by trade-union members as employing or favoring nonunion workmen or as operated, conducted, or made under conditions considered unfair by trade-union members

a black ship

declare a pub black

13. : marked by or as if by a black section on a map or chart as being affected by some undesirable condition (as infection or a high rate of unemployment)

the polio situation is improving but there are still some black areas

14. : covered with a dark scale of oxide : not galvanized

black iron pipe


a. of propaganda : conducted so as to appear to originate within an enemy country and designed to weaken enemy morale — opposed to white

b. : characterized by or connected with the use of black propaganda

black psychological warfare

black radio

II. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English blak black color, black particle, black material, from Old English blæc ink, from blæc, adjective

1. : any of various substances (as bone black, carbon black, lampblack) containing elemental carbon usually as the chief constituent


a. : the neutral or achromatic object color of least lightness : the darkest gray : the achromatic color bearing the least resemblance to white

b. : the one of the six psychologically primary colors that is characteristically perceived to belong to objects that neither reflect nor transmit an appreciable fraction of the incident light

c. : any object color of very low lightness and saturation

the painter's blacks and browns

3. : a black part or area : a black speck or stain

4. : a black material or substance:

a. : black clothing

black is becoming to her

especially as worn as a sign of mourning

wear black for her father

b. : a black garment especially as worn as a sign of mourning or by men on formal occasions

the lawyer … in his blacks and his silk hat — G.K.Chesterton

uncomfortable in his wedding blacks — Edna Ferber

— usually used in plural

5. : a Negro, Negrito, or Australian aborigine : a person belonging to a darkly pigmented race : a person whose appearance shows that some of his ancestors belonged to a darkly pigmented race

6. : a poacher in 18th century England who operated as a member of a band disguised by blackened faces

7. : the dark-colored pieces in a two-handed board game ; also : the player by or the side of the board from which these pieces are played


a. : a black animal: as

(1) : a black horse

(2) : an Aberdeen Angus

(3) : a Norfolk turkey

b. : an individual of a black or melanistic variety of certain common mammals (as squirrel or skunk)

9. usually capitalized : one of the Neri

10. : the black circle of a target ; also : a shot that hits it

11. usually capitalized : a member or adherent of a group characterized or formerly characterized by wearing black: as

a. : a member or adherent of a clerical political party

b. : fascist

12. : something deserving unmitigated condemnation

pure whites and seamy blacks of character, inviting sighs and hisses — Leslie Rees

the tendency to think only in terms of black or white — D.K.Berninghausen

13. print : boldface 2

14. : total or nearly total absence of light : darkness

the black of night


[from the bookkeeping practice of entering credit items in black ink]

: the condition of making a profit — usually used with the

the company is now operating in the black

— opposed to red

III. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English blaken, from blak, n.

intransitive verb

1. : blacken — often used with over

the sky blacked over

2. : to put black coloring matter on one's face in preparation for playing the role of a Negro — used with up

black up for the minstrel show

transitive verb


a. : blacken 1

b. : to bruise and discolor (an eye) by a blow

say that again and I'll black your eye

2. : blacken 2

3. : to apply black coloring matter to: as

a. : to make black and shiny by applying blacking to

who will black these shoes

they blacked the stove

b. : to put black coloring matter on in preparation for playing the role of a Negro

the makeup man blacked the actor's face

— often used with up

he blacked himself up for the next performance

c. : to obliterate with or as if with black ink : blot : delete or suppress through censorship — used with out

ordered the passage blacked out from all copies in the school libraries — Upton Sinclair

d. : to treat (a ship's rigging) with tar or with a mixture containing a black oil or grease — used with down

IV. adverb

Etymology: black (I)

dialect Britain : extremely

black afraid

: utterly , completely

the fire was black out

V. adjective

1. : of or relating to the Afro-American people or their culture

black literature

black college

black pride

black studies

2. : typical or representative of the most readily perceived characteristics of black culture

trying to sound black

played blacker jazz


a. : of or relating to covert intelligence operations

b. : employed in covert intelligence operations

4. : characterized by black humor

that black , bitterly funny book, full of pain — Edmund Morris

VI. transitive verb

chiefly Britain : to declare (as a business or industry) subject to boycott by trade-union members

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.