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black Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun the quality or state of the achromatic color of least lightness (bearing the least resemblance to white)
    inkiness; blackness.
  2. noun total absence of light
    lightlessness; pitch blackness; blackness; total darkness.
    • they fumbled around in total darkness
    • in the black of night
  3. noun British chemist who identified carbon dioxide and who formulated the concepts of specific heat and latent heat (1728-1799)
    Joseph Black.
  4. noun popular child actress of the 1930's (born in 1928)
    Shirley Temple; Shirley Temple Black.
  5. noun a person with dark skin who comes from Africa (or whose ancestors came from Africa)
    Negroid; blackamoor; Negro; Black person.
  6. noun (board games) the darker pieces
  7. noun black clothing (worn as a sign of mourning)
    • the widow wore black
  8. verb make or become black
    melanize; blacken; melanise; nigrify.
    • The smoke blackened the ceiling
    • The ceiling blackened
  9. adjective being of the achromatic color of maximum darkness; having little or no hue owing to absorption of almost all incident light
    • black leather jackets
    • as black as coal
    • rich black soil
  10. adjective of or belonging to a racial group having dark skin especially of sub-Saharan African origin
    • a great people--a black people--...injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization"- Martin Luther King Jr.
  11. adjective satellite marked by anger or resentment or hostility
    • black looks
    • black words
  12. adjective satellite offering little or no hope
    dim; bleak.
    • the future looked black
    • prospects were bleak
    • Life in the Aran Islands has always been bleak and difficult"- J.M.Synge
    • took a dim view of things
  13. adjective satellite stemming from evil characteristics or forces; wicked or dishonorable
    dark; sinister.
    • black deeds
    • a black lie
    • his black heart has concocted yet another black deed
    • Darth Vader of the dark side
    • a dark purpose
    • dark undercurrents of ethnic hostility
    • the scheme of some sinister intelligence bent on punishing him"-Thomas Hardy
  14. adjective satellite (of events) having extremely unfortunate or dire consequences; bringing ruin
    fatal; calamitous; disastrous; fateful.
    • the stock market crashed on Black Friday
    • a calamitous defeat
    • the battle was a disastrous end to a disastrous campaign
    • such doctrines, if true, would be absolutely fatal to my theory"- Charles Darwin
    • it is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it"- Douglas MacArthur
    • a fateful error
  15. adjective satellite (of the face) made black especially as with suffused blood
    • a face black with fury
  16. adjective satellite extremely dark
    pitch-dark; pitch-black.
    • a black moonless night
    • through the pitch-black woods
    • it was pitch-dark in the cellar
  17. adjective satellite harshly ironic or sinister
    mordant; grim.
    • black humor
    • a grim joke
    • grim laughter
    • fun ranging from slapstick clowning ... to savage mordant wit
  18. adjective satellite (of intelligence operations) deliberately misleading
    • black propaganda
  19. adjective satellite distributed or sold illicitly
    contraband; black-market; bootleg; smuggled.
    • the black economy pays no taxes
  20. adjective satellite (used of conduct or character) deserving or bringing disgrace or shame
    opprobrious; ignominious; shameful; inglorious; disgraceful.
    • Man...has written one of his blackest records as a destroyer on the oceanic islands"- Rachel Carson
    • an ignominious retreat
    • inglorious defeat
    • an opprobrious monument to human greed
    • a shameful display of cowardice
  21. adjective satellite (of coffee) without cream or sugar
  22. adjective satellite soiled with dirt or soot
    • with feet black from playing outdoors
    • his shirt was black within an hour

Black adjective
OE. blak, AS. blæc; akin to Icel. blakkr dark, swarthy, Sw. bläck ink, Dan. blæk, OHG. blach, LG. & D. blaken to burn with a black smoke. Not akin to AS. blac, E. bleak pallid. 98.
  1. Destitute of light, or incapable of reflecting it; of the color of soot or coal; of the darkest or a very dark color, the opposite of white; characterized by such a color; as, black cloth; black hair or eyes.
    O night, with hue so black! Shak.
  2. In a less literal sense: Enveloped or shrouded in darkness; very dark or gloomy; as, a black night; the heavens black with clouds.
    I spy a black, suspicious, threatening cloud. Shak.
  3. Fig.: Dismal, gloomy, or forbidding, like darkness; destitute of moral light or goodness; atrociously wicked; cruel; mournful; calamitous; horrible. "This day's black fate." "Black villainy." "Arise, black vengeance." "Black day." "Black despair." Shak.
  4. Expressing menace, or discontent; threatening; sullen; foreboding; as, to regard one with black looks. Black is often used in self-explaining compound words; as, black-eyed, black-faced, black-haired, black-visaged. Syn. -- Dark; murky; pitchy; inky; somber; dusky; gloomy; swart; Cimmerian; ebon; atrocious.
Black adverb
  1. Sullenly; threateningly; maliciously; so as to produce blackness.
Black noun
  1. That which is destitute of light or whiteness; the darkest color, or rather a destitution of all color; as, a cloth has a good black.
    Black is the badge of hell, The hue of dungeons, and the suit of night. Shak.
  2. A black pigment or dye.
  3. A negro; a person whose skin is of a black color, or shaded with black; esp. a member or descendant of certain African races.
  4. A black garment or dress; as, she wears black; pl. (Obs.) Mourning garments of a black color; funereal drapery.
    Friends weeping, and blacks, and obsequies, and the like show death terrible. Bacon.
    That was the full time they used to wear blacks for the death of their fathers. Sir T. North.
  5. The part of a thing which is distinguished from the rest by being black.
    The black or sight of the eye. Sir K. Digby.
  6. A stain; a spot; a smooch.
    Defiling her white lawn of chastity with ugly blacks of lust. Rowley.
Black transitive verb
See Black, a., and cf. Blacken.
imperfect & past participle Blacked ; present participle & verbal noun Blacking
  1. To make black; to blacken; to soil; to sully.
    They have their teeth blacked, both men and women, for they say a dog hath his teeth white, therefore they will black theirs. Hakluyt.
    Sins which black thy soul. J. Fletcher.
  2. To make black and shining, as boots or a stove, by applying blacking and then polishing with a brush.

Webster 1913

"Rowling never met an adverb she didn't like."

-Stephen King on J.K Rowling's excessive use of adverbs.

Fear not the Adverb Hell!

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