1. the rapid closing and opening of the eyelid. It is an essential function of the eye that helps spread tears across and remove irritants from the surface of the cornea and conjunctiva. Blink speed can be affected by elements such as fatigue, eye injury, medication, and disease. The blinking rate is determined by the “blinking centre”, but it can also be affected by external stimulus. When an animal (usually human) chooses to blink only one eye as a signal to another in a social setting (a form of body language), it is known as winking. Some animals (for example, tortoises and hamsters) blink their eyes independently of each other.
2. to open and close the eye, especially involuntarily; wink rapidly and repeatedly.
3. used as an intensifier (chiefly British use), for example ‘he’s a blinking idiot’.
Etymology: Middle English blinken, variant of blenken - to blench (to shrink, flinch; quail) ; cognate with Dutch, German blinken.