1. A pigmented liquid or paste used especially for writing or printing.
2. A dark liquid ejected for protection by most cephalopods, including octopuses and squids.
3. Informal Coverage in the print media; publicity: Her campaign rallies generated a lot of ink.
4. Informal A tattoo or tattoos: showed us his ink.
tr.v. inked, ink·ing, inks
1. To mark, coat, or stain with ink.
2. To apply black lines to (a drawing or sketch) using pen and ink or a digital graphics program.
a. To append one's signature to (a contract, for example).
b. To engage or hire by means of a contract.
4. Informal To tattoo.
[Middle English inke, from Old French enque, from Late Latin encaustum, purple ink, from Greek enkauston, painted in encaustic, from enkaiein, to paint in encaustic, burn in; see ENCAUSTIC.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.