1. Destitute of light, or incapable of reflecting it; of the color of soot or coal; of the darkest or a very dark color, the opposite of white; characterized by such a color; 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. Fig.: 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.
Note: ☞ 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.
Black angel Zool., a fish of the West Indies and Florida (Holacanthus tricolor), with the head and tail yellow, and the middle of the body black.
Black antimony Chem., the black sulphide of antimony, Sb2S3, used in pyrotechnics, etc.
Black bear Zool., the common American bear (Ursus Americanus).
Black beast. See Bête noire.
Black beetle Zool., the common large cockroach (Blatta orientalis).
Black bonnet Zool., the black-headed bunting (Embriza Schœniclus) of Europe.
Black canker, a disease in turnips and other crops, produced by a species of caterpillar.
Black cat Zool., the fisher, a quadruped of North America allied to the sable, but larger. See Fisher.
Black cattle, any bovine cattle reared for slaughter, in distinction from dairy cattle. [Eng.]
Black cherry. See under Cherry.
Black cockatoo Zool., the palm cockatoo. See Cockatoo.
Black copper. Same as Melaconite.
Black currant. Bot. See Currant.
Black diamond. Min. See Carbonado.
Black draught Med., a cathartic medicine, composed of senna and magnesia.
Black drop Med., vinegar of opium; a narcotic preparation consisting essentially of a solution of opium in vinegar.
Black earth, mold; earth of a dark color. --Woodward.
Black flag, the flag of a pirate, often bearing in white a skull and crossbones; a signal of defiance.
Black flea Zool., a flea beetle (Haltica nemorum) injurious to turnips.
Black flux, a mixture of carbonate of potash and charcoal, obtained by deflagrating tartar with half its weight of niter. --Brande & C.
Black game, or Black grouse. Zool. See Blackcock, Grouse, and Heath grouse.
Black grass Bot., a grasslike rush of the species Juncus Gerardi, growing on salt marshes, and making good hay.
Black gum Bot., an American tree, the tupelo or pepperidge. See Tupelo.
Black Hamburg (grape) Bot., a sweet and juicy variety of dark purple or “black” grape.
Black horse Zool., a fish of the Mississippi valley (Cycleptus elongatus), of the sucker family; the Missouri sucker.
Black lemur Zool., the Lemurniger of Madagascar; the acoumbo of the natives.
Black list, a list of persons who are for some reason thought deserving of censure or punishment; -- esp. a list of persons stigmatized as insolvent or untrustworthy, made for the protection of tradesmen or employers. See Blacklist, v. t.
Black manganese Chem., the black oxide of manganese, MnO2.
Black Maria, the close wagon in which prisoners are carried to or from jail.
Black martin Zool., the chimney swift. See Swift.
Black moss Bot., the common so-called long moss of the southern United States. See Tillandsia.
Black oak. See under Oak.
Black ocher. See Wad.
Black pigment, a very fine, light carbonaceous substance, or lampblack, prepared chiefly for the manufacture of printers' ink. It is obtained by burning common coal tar.
Black plate, sheet iron before it is tinned. --Knight.
Black quarter, malignant anthrax with engorgement of a shoulder or quarter, etc., as of an ox.
Black rat Zool., one of the species of rats (Mus rattus), commonly infesting houses.
Black rent. See Blackmail, n., 3.
Black rust, a disease of wheat, in which a black, moist matter is deposited in the fissures of the grain.
Black sheep, one in a family or company who is unlike the rest, and makes trouble.
Black silver. Min. See under Silver.
Black and tan, black mixed or spotted with tan color or reddish brown; -- used in describing certain breeds of dogs.
Black tea. See under Tea.
Black tin Mining, tin ore (cassiterite), when dressed, stamped and washed, ready for smelting. It is in the form of a black powder, like fine sand. --Knight.
Black walnut. See under Walnut.
Black warrior Zool., an American hawk (Buteo Harlani).
Syn: -- Dark; murky; pitchy; inky; somber; dusky; gloomy; swart; Cimmerian; ebon; atrocious.
Black, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Blacked; p. pr. & vb. n. Blacking.]
1. To make black; to blacken; to soil; to sully.
They have their teeth blacked, both men and women, for they say a dog hath his teeth white, therefore they will black theirs. --Hakluyt.
Sins which black thy soul. --J. Fletcher.
2. To make black and shining, as boots or a stove, by applying blacking and then polishing with a brush.
Black adv. Sullenly; threateningly; maliciously; so as to produce blackness.
1. That which is destitute of light or whiteness; the darkest color, or rather a destitution of all color; 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 color, or shaded with black; esp. a member or descendant of certain African races.
4. A black garment or dress; as, she wears black; pl. (Obs.) Mourning garments of a black color; 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 color.
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 under Berlin.
adj 1: being of the achromatic color of maximum darkness; having
little or no hue owing to absorption of almost all
incident light; "black leather jackets"; "as black as
coal"; "rich black soil" [syn: achromatic] [ant: white]
2: of or belonging to a racial group having dark skin
especially of sub-Saharan African origin; "a great
people--a black people--...injected new meaning and
dignity into the veins of civilization"- Martin Luther
King Jr. [ant: white]
3: marked by anger or resentment or hostility; "black looks";
4: stemming from evil characteristics or forces; wicked or
dishonorable; "black deeds"; "a black lie"; "his black
heart has concocted yet another black deed"; "Darth Vader
of the dark side"; "a dark purpose"; "dark undercurrents
of ethnic hostility"; "the scheme of some sinister
intelligence bent on punishing him"-Thomas Hardy [syn: dark,
5: offering little or no hope; "the future looked black";
"prospects were bleak"; "Life in the Aran Islands has
always been bleak and difficult"- J.M.Synge; "took a dim
view of things" [syn: bleak, dim]
6: (of events) having extremely unfortunate or dire
consequences; bringing ruin; "the stock market crashed on
Black Friday"; "a calamitous defeat"; "the battle was a
disastrous end to a disastrous campaign"; "such doctrines,
if true, would be absolutely fatal to my theory"- Charles
Darwin; "it is fatal to enter any war without the will to
win it"- Douglas MacArthur; "a fateful error" [syn: calamitous,
disastrous, fatal, fateful]
7: (of the face) made black especially as with suffused blood;
"a face black with fury" [syn: blackened]
8: extremely dark; "a black moonless night"; "through the
pitch-black woods"; "it was pitch-dark in the celler"
[syn: pitch-black, pitch-dark]
9: harshly ironic or sinister; "black humor"; "a grim joke";
"grim laughter"; "fun ranging from slapstick clowning ...
to savage mordant wit" [syn: grim, mordant]
10: (of intelligence operations) deliberately misleading; "black
11: distributed or sold illicitly; "the black economy pays no
taxes" [syn: bootleg, black-market, contraband, smuggled]
12: (used of conduct or character) deserving or bringing
disgrace or shame; "Man...has written one of his blackest
records as a destroyer on the oceanic islands"- Rachel
Carson; "an ignominious retreat"; "inglorious defeat";
"an opprobrious monument to human greed"; "a shameful
display of cowardice" [syn: disgraceful, ignominious,
inglorious, opprobrious, shameful]
13: (of coffee) without cream or sugar
14: dressed in black; "a black knight"; "black friars"
15: soiled with dirt or soot; "with feet black from playing
outdoors"; "his shirt was black within an hour"
n 1: the quality or state of the achromatic color of least
lightness (bearing the least resemblance to white) [syn:
blackness] [ant: white]
2: total absence of light; "they fumbled around in total
darkness"; "in the black of night" [syn: total darkness,
lightlessness, blackness, pitch blackness]
3: British chemist who identified carbon dioxide and who
formulated the concepts of specific heat and latent heat
(1728-1799) [syn: Joseph Black]
4: popular child actress of the 1930's (born 1927) [syn: Shirley
Temple Black, Shirley Temple]
5: a person with dark skin who comes from Africa (or whose
ancestors came from Africa) [syn: Black person, blackamoor,
6: (board games) the darker pieces [ant: white]
7: black clothing (worn as a sign of mourning); "the widow wore
v : make or become black; "The smoke blackened the ceiling";
"The ceiling blackened" [syn: blacken, melanize, melanise,
nigrify] [ant: whiten]
properly the absence of all colour. In Prov. 7:9 the Hebrew word
means, as in the margin of the Revised Version, "the pupil of
the eye." It is translated "apple" of the eye in Deut. 32:10;
Ps. 17:8; Prov. 7:2. It is a different word which is rendered
"black" in Lev. 13:31,37; Cant. 1:5; 5:11; and Zech. 6:2, 6. It
is uncertain what the "black marble" of Esther 1:6 was which
formed a part of the mosaic pavement.