definition of Color/black by The Free Dictionary



adj. black·er, black·est

1. Being of the color black, producing or reflecting comparatively little light and having no predominant hue.

2. Having little or no light: a black, moonless night.

3. also Black

a. Of or belonging to a racial group having brown to black skin, especially one of African origin: the black population of South Africa.

b. Of or belonging to an American ethnic group descended from African peoples having dark skin; African-American.

4. Very dark in color: rich black soil; black, wavy hair.

5. Being a trail, as for skiing, marked with a sign having a black diamond, indicating a high level of difficulty.

6. Soiled, as from soot; dirty: feet black from playing outdoors.

7. Evil; wicked: the pirates’ black deeds.

8. Cheerless and depressing; gloomy: black thoughts.

9. Being or characterized by morbid or grimly satiric humor: a black comedy.

10. Marked by anger or sullenness: gave me a black look.

11. Attended with disaster; calamitous: a black day; the stock market crash on Black Friday.

12. Deserving of, indicating, or incurring censure or dishonor: “Man … has written one of his blackest records as a destroyer on the oceanic islands” (Rachel Carson).

13. Wearing clothing of the darkest visual hue: the black knight.

14. Served without milk or cream: black coffee.

15. Appearing to emanate from a source other than the actual point of origin. Used chiefly of intelligence operations: black propaganda; black radio transmissions.

16. Disclosed, for reasons of security, only to an extremely limited number of authorized persons; very highly classified: black programs in the Defense Department; the Pentagon’s black budget.

17. Chiefly British Boycotted as part of a labor union action.



a. The achromatic color value of minimum lightness or maximum darkness; the color of objects that absorb nearly all light of all visible wavelengths; one extreme of the neutral gray series, the opposite being white. Although strictly a response to zero stimulation of the retina, the perception of black appears to depend on contrast with surrounding color stimuli.

b. A pigment or dye having this color value.

2. Complete or almost complete absence of light; darkness.

3. Clothing of the darkest hue, especially such clothing worn for mourning.

4. also Black

a. A member of a racial group having brown to black skin, especially one of African origin.

b. An American descended from peoples of African origin having brown to black skin; an African American.

5. Something that is colored black.

6. Games

a. The black-colored pieces, as in chess or checkers.

b. The player using these pieces.

7. The condition of making or operating at a profit: worked hard to get the business back into the black.

v. blacked, black·ing, blacks

1. To make black: blacked their faces with charcoal.

2. To apply blacking to: blacked the stove.

3. Chiefly British To boycott as part of a labor union action.

Phrasal Verb:

black out

1. To lose consciousness or memory temporarily: blacked out at the podium.

2. To suppress (a fact or memory, for example) from conscious recognition: blacked out many of my wartime experiences.

3. To cover or make illegible with black marking: The names in the document had been blacked out.

4. To prohibit the dissemination of, especially by censorship: blacked out the news issuing from the rebel provinces.

5. To extinguish or conceal all lights that might help enemy aircraft find a target during an air raid.

6. To extinguish all the lights on (a stage).

7. To cause a failure of electrical power in: Storm damage blacked out much of the region.

8. To suppress the broadcast of (an event or program) from an area: blacked out the football game on local TV stations.

black′ish adj.

black′ly adv.

black′ness n.

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




1. (Colours) of the colour of jet or carbon black, having no hue due to the absorption of all or nearly all incident light. Compare white1

2. without light; completely dark

3. without hope or alleviation; gloomy: the future looked black.

4. very dirty or soiled: black factory chimneys.

5. angry or resentful: she gave him black looks.

6. (Theatre) (of a play or other work) dealing with the unpleasant realities of life, esp in a pessimistic or macabre manner: black comedy.

7. (of coffee or tea) without milk or cream

8. causing, resulting from, or showing great misfortune: black areas of unemployment.


a. wicked or harmful: a black lie.

b. (in combination): black-hearted.

10. causing or deserving dishonour or censure: a black crime.

11. (of the face) purple, as from suffocation

12. (Industrial Relations & HR Terms) Brit (of goods, jobs, works, etc) being subject to boycott by trade unionists, esp in support of industrial action elsewhere


13. (Colours) a black colour

14. (Dyeing) a dye or pigment of or producing this colour

15. black clothing, worn esp as a sign of mourning

16. (Chess & Draughts) chess draughts

a. a black or dark-coloured piece or square

b. (usually capital) the player playing with such pieces

17. complete darkness: the black of the night.

18. (Billiards & Snooker) a black ball in snooker, etc

19. (Gambling, except Cards) (in roulette and other gambling games) one of two colours on which players may place even bets, the other being red

20. in the black in credit or without debt

21. (Archery) archery a black ring on a target, between the outer and the blue, scoring three points


23. (tr) to polish (shoes, etc) with blacking

24. (tr) to bruise so as to make black: he blacked her eye.

25. (Industrial Relations & HR Terms) (tr) Brit and Austral and NZ (of trade unionists) to organize a boycott of (specified goods, jobs, work, etc), esp in support of industrial action elsewhere

[Old English blæc; related to Old Saxon blak ink, Old High German blakra to blink]

ˈblackish adj

ˈblackishly adv

ˈblackly adv

ˈblackness n




(Peoples) a member of a human population having dark pigmentation of the skin


(Peoples) of or relating to a Black person or Black people: a Black neighbourhood.

Usage: Talking about a Black or Blacks is considered offensive and it is better to talk about a Black person, Black people




1. (Biography) Sir James (Whyte). 1924–2010, British biochemist. He discovered beta-blockers and drugs for peptic ulcers: Nobel prize for physiology or medicine 1988

2. (Biography) Joseph. 1728–99, Scottish physician and chemist, noted for his pioneering work on carbon dioxide and heat

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



adj. black•er, black•est, adj.

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.)

a. pertaining or belonging to any of the various populations having dark skin pigmentation, specifically the dark-skinned peoples of Africa, Oceania, and Australia.

4. soiled or stained with dirt.

5. gloomy; pessimistic; dismal: a black future.

6. sullen or hostile: black words.

7. (of coffee or tea) served without milk or cream.

8. harmful, evil, or wicked: a black heart.

9. indicating censure, disgrace, etc.: a black mark on one’s record.

10. marked by disaster or misfortune: black areas of drought.

11. wearing black or dark clothing or armor: the black prince.

12. morbidly or grimly satirical: black comedy.

13. secret; covert: a black program to rebuild air defenses.


14. the color at one end of the gray scale, opposite to white, absorbing all wavelengths of light.

15. (sometimes cap.)

a. a member of any of various dark-skinned peoples, esp. those of Africa, Oceania, and Australia.

16. black clothing, esp. as a sign of mourning.

17. the dark-colored pieces or squares in checkers or chess.

18. black pigment: lamp black.

19. a type or breed that is black in color.


20. to make black; put black on; blacken.

21. to polish (shoes, boots, etc.) with blacking.


22. to become black; take on a black color; blacken.

23. black out,

a. to lose consciousness or memory temporarily.

b. to obliterate or suppress.

c. to extinguish (all the stage lights).

d. to make or become inoperable.

e. to obscure by concealing all light in defense against air raids.

f. to impose a broadcast blackout on (an area).


1. in black and white, in print or writing: I want that agreement in black and white.

2. in the black, operating at a profit.

[before 900; Middle English; Old English blæc, c. Old High German blah-; akin to Old Norse blakkr black, blek ink]

black′ish, adj.

usage: Black, colored, and Negro have all been used to describe or name the dark-skinned African peoples or their descendants. Colored, now somewhat old-fashioned, is usu. offensive. It is still used, however, in the title of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The term colored is also used among blacks to refer to another black who acts as if he or she were superior. In the late 1950s black began to replace Negro and is still widely used and accepted, whereas Negro is not. Common as both adjective and noun, black is usu. not capitalized except in proper names or titles (Black Muslim; Black English). However, members of the African-American community have expressed a strong preference for use of capital “B” for both the noun and the adjective, to parallel the names of other ethnic groups. African-American, urged by leaders in the American black community, is now widely used in both print and speech, esp. as a term of self-reference. Afro-American is accepted but less widely used, mostly as an adjective.




Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

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