Also found in: Thesaurus, Acronyms, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to inks: INXS


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.
3. Informal
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.]
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.


Liquids for drawing or painting; generally the colors are a suspension or present as a dye. Sometimes, as with Indian ink or white ink, there may be opaque pigments in suspension. Inks may be applied with different types of pen or soft hairbrushes.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
References in classic literature ?
He t'inks he kin scrap, but when he gits me a-chasin' 'im he'll fin' out where he's wrong, deh damned duffer.
"Yes; I am a supercargo; pen, ink, and paper are my tools, and without my tools I am fit for nothing."
As for himself, he dismounted and remained under a beautiful group of chestnuts in flower, amidst which were murmuring a multitude of happy bees, and bade Olivain send the host to him with writing paper and ink, to be placed on a table which he found there, conveniently ready.
Poligny was written in black ink and exactly similar to that in our possession, except that, at the end, it contained a paragraph in red ink and in a queer, labored handwriting, as though it had been produced by dipping the heads of matches into the ink, the writing of a child that has never got beyond the down-strokes and has not learned to join its letters.
Bring me paper and ink, The best there is time to procure."
It is at school that he injures himself for life--as I firmly believe--trying to pronounce German; and it is there, too, that he learns of the importance attached by the French nation to pens, ink, and paper.
"Pen, ink, and paper!" he roared, when he could use the dumb-bells no longer.
Upon that, the Indian took a bottle from his bosom, and poured out of it some black stuff, like ink, into the palm of the boy's hand.
After I had been there about ten or twelve days, it came into my thoughts that I should lose my reckoning of time for want of books, and pen and ink, and should even forget the Sabbath days; but to prevent this, I cut with my knife upon a large post, in capital letters - and making it into a great cross, I set it up on the shore where I first landed - "I came on shore here on the 30th September 1659."
Pickwick demanded his writing-desk, and pen and ink, and was deeply engaged during the whole day.
"If you examine it carefully you will see that both the pen and the ink have given the writer trouble.
It was growing late when Jamrach came to the margin of what appeared to be a lake of black ink, and there the road terminated.