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See also: Wink




From Middle English winken (strong verb) and Middle English winken (weak verb), from Old English *wincan (strong verb) and wincian (to wink, make a sign, close the eyes, blink, weak verb), from Proto-Germanic *winkaną (to move side to side, sway), *winkōną (to close one's eyes), from Proto-Indo-European *weng- (to bow, bend, arch, curve). Cognate with Middle Low German winken (to blink, wink), German winken (to nod, beckon, make a sign). Related also to Saterland Frisian wäänke, Dutch wenken (to beckon, motion), Latin vacillare (sway), Lithuanian véngti (to swerve, avoid), Albanian vang (tire, felloe), Sanskrit वञ्चति (vañcati, he swaggers).



wink (third-person singular simple present winks, present participle winking, simple past and past participle winked)

  1. (obsolete, intransitive) To close one's eyes.
    • Shakespeare
      I will wink, so shall the day seem night.
    • Tillotson
      They are not blind, but they wink.
  2. (archaic, intransitive) To turn a blind eye.
    • 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069:, New York Review of Books, 2001, p.51:
      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.
    • Herbert
      And yet, as though he knew it not, / His knowledge winks, and lets his humours reign.
    • John Locke
      Obstinacy can not be winked at, but must be subdued.
  3. (transitive, intransitive) To blink with only one eye as a message, signal, or suggestion. (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.
  4. (intransitive) To twinkle.
  5. (intransitive) To be dim and flicker.
    The light winks.



act of winking

wink (plural winks)

  1. An act of winking (a blinking of only one eye), or a message sent by winking.
  2. A brief time; an instant.
  3. A brief period of sleep; especially forty winks.
  4. A disc used in the game of tiddlywinks.
  5. A subtle allusion.
    The film includes a wink to wartime rationing.

Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.





  1. Imperative singular of winken.
  2. (colloquial) First-person singular present of winken.