American English

Definition of black noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[uncountable] the very darkest color, like night or coal the black of the night sky Everyone at the funeral was dressed in black.
  2. people
  3. 2[countable, usually plural] a member of a race of people who have dark skin In this meaning black is more common in the plural. It can sound offensive in the singular. Instead, you can use the adjective (“a black man/woman”), but African American is the most generally accepted term for an American whose family originally came from Africa.
  4. Idioms
    be in the black
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    to have money, for example in your bank account The company has managed to stay in the black for the year ending December 31. compare be in the red
    black and white
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    having no colors except black, white, and shades of gray (in photographs, on television, etc.) a film made in black and white black-and-white photos
    (in) black and white
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    in a way that makes people or things seem completely bad or good, or completely right or wrong It's a complex issue, but he only sees it in black and white. This is not a black-and-white decision (= where the difference between two choices is completely clear).
    in black and white
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    in writing or in print I never thought they'd put it in black and white on the front page.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: black