Definition of “black” - English Dictionary

“black” in British English

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uk /blæk/ us /blæk/

black adjective (COLOUR)

A1 having the darkest colour there is, like the colour of coal or of a very dark night:

black shoes

More examples

  • I wanted a simple black dress, nothing fancy.
  • I heard a loud bang and then saw black smoke.
  • The zebra is a wild African horse with black and white stripes.
  • When you fill in the form, please write clearly in black ink.
  • Amalie was dressed completely in black, right down to black lipstick and a black earring.

black adjective (PEOPLE)

A2 also Black relating or belonging to people with black or dark brown skin, especially people who live in Africa or whose family originally came from Africa:

black culture
Black Americans

More examples

  • There's a large black community living in this area.
  • The armed forces are now giving positive encouragement to applications from Asians and black people.
  • The police had to fend off allegations of institutional racism after a black suspect was beaten by four white police officers.
  • Britain is a multi-ethnic society, with many black and Asian people.
  • He had a black mother and a white father.


uk /blæk/ us /blæk/

blackverb [ T ]

uk /blæk/ us /blæk/

(Definition of “black” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“black” in American English

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blackadjective, noun [ U ]

us /blæk/

black adjective, noun [ U ] (COLOR)

(of) the darkest color there is, like night:

He was dressed all in black.

Black coffee or tea has no milk or cream in it.


us /blæk/

black adjective (DARK SKIN)

[ -er/-est only ] of or belonging to a group of people having skin that is brown, esp. African-American people:

As a black woman, I am proud of my African-American heritage.
Note: Although African-American is the word preferred by many, black is also widely used and is not offensive: Black leaders disagreed over how to respond. As a noun, African-American is now more commonly used, but when describing historical events, black may be used.

black adjective (SAD OR BAD)

without hope, very bad, or sad:

The blackest time of all was when his eyes failed.

(Definition of “black” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“black” in Business English

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uk /blæk/ us FINANCE
in the black

FINANCE, ACCOUNTING a company or organization that is in the black has made a profit:

Analysts predict that the group will end the fiscal year in the black.

FINANCE, STOCK MARKET shares that are in the black have increased in value:

Smaller shares ended in the black, but with less dramatic gains than the blue chips.

BANKING, ACCOUNTING a bank account that is in the black has money in it:

We hope that the harder we work, the more our account will stay in the black.
go into/move into/return to, etc. the black

to start making a profit after losing money:

This is the biggest shopping day of the year, when retailers aim to go into the black.

to increase in value:

The main index actually moved back into the black late afternoon.


blackverb [ T ]

uk /blæk/ us

UK if a trade union blacks goods, an organization, etc. it refuses to deal with them

(Definition of “black” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)