1. That which is destitute of light or whiteness; the darkest colour, or rather a destitution of all colour; 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 colour, or shaded with black; especially. A member or descendant of certain African races.

4. A black garment or dress; as, she wears black; pl. Mourning garments of a black colour; 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 and white, writing or print; as, I must have that statement in black and white. Blue black, a pigment of a blue black colour. Ivory black, a fine kind of animal charcoal prepared by calcining ivory or bones. When ground it is the chief ingredient of the ink used in copperplate printing. Berlin black. See Berlin.

1. Destitute of light, or incapable of reflecting it; of the colour of soot or coal; of the darkest or a very dark colour, the opposite of white; characterised by such a colour; 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. 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."

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. Black act, the English statute 9 George I, which makes it a felony to appear armed in any park or warren, etc, or to hunt or steal deer, etc, with the face blackened or disguised. Subsequent acts inflicting heavy penalties for malicious injuries to cattle and machinery have been called black acts.

<chemistry> Black angel, the palm cockatoo. See Cockatoo. Black copper. Same as Melaconite. Black currant.

<botany> An American hawk (Buteo Harlani).

Synonyms: Dark, murky, pitchy, inky, somber, dusky, gloomy, swart, Cimmerian, ebon, atrocious.

Origin: OE. Blak, AS. Blaec; akin to Icel. Blakkr dark, swarthy, Sw. Black ink, Dan. Blaek, OHG. Blach, LG. & D. Blaken to burn with a black smoke. Not akin to AS. Blac, E. Bleak pallid. 98.

(01 Mar 1998)

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