Wink vs. Blink – What’s the Difference?

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

We often hear the terms blink and wink in conversation, writing and even popular song lyrics. But have we ever stopped to ponder the subtle differences between these two actions? Let’s set our eyeballs on these verbs of vision in more detail and uncover their hidden subtleties.

Difference Between Blink and Wink

Wink vs. Blink Whats the Difference

The main difference between blink and wink is the intent and the number of eyeballs involved. A blink is automatic, non-verbal communication that happens throughout the day without conscious control.

But if you give someone a wink, that’s a deliberate act, an eye gesture with various connotations depending on the context. It could be flirtation or just sharing a secret joke. It’s kind of like a nod but with your eyes.

I remember when my daughter was a toddler, she’d try so hard to wink, but it was always a blink with both eyes.

Is Blink the Plural of Wink?

Contrary to what you might think, blink is not the plural of wink. They’re two entirely different actions, each with its distinct purpose. A blink is what we do subconsciously, like breathing. It’s a reflex where both eyelids open and close every few seconds to protect and moisten the eyes.

But a wink is a voluntary action. Yes, it involves you blinking, but it’s typically only one eye and is used to communicate a message or signal but in a playful or secretive manner.

Etymology Behind the Word Wink

The word wink has its roots in Old English wincian, which basically means to close one’s eyes. It first came into use around the 14th century and has since evolved to describe the playful or covert communication that we associate with the term today.

Blink Examples in a Sentence

  • The bright light made me blink rapidly until it disappeared, but now, I have white spots in my vision.
  • The cursor on the computer screen continued to blink at me, waiting for my next command.
  • The boy’s eyes started to blink as he fought against sleep in his car seat.
  • I blinked away the tears as my kid read the poem she wrote for me.

Wink Examples in a Sentence

Wink vs. Blink Whats the Difference 1
  • With a wink and a nod, my grandma signaled that she was only joking about making a broccoli pie.
  • My father always gave a quick wink to secretly let me know he knew more than he was saying.
  • She sent him a playful wink across the crowded room and was surprised when the guy actually came over and asked her out.
  • Funny, I actually can’t wink, no matter how hard I try.

Winken, Blinken, and Nod

The subtleties between a blink and a wink can reveal so much about your intention and emotions. The next time you find yourself either blinking or winking, you’ll understand the subtle yet significant difference between these two actions. So, whether you’re blinking out of necessity or winking with intent, you’re participating in a form of communication as old as humanity itself.

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