blank

Definitions

General English

Electronics

  • A recordable medium, such as a magnetic tape or diskette, which has no information recorded yet.
  • A piece of material, especially a crystal, which is cut in preparation for further processing.
  • To cut-off a signal or beam.
  • To cut-off the electron beam in a CRT.

Military

Publishing

  • verb to make a white space, usually by painting with white ink

Theater

  • see dry.

Origin & History of “blank”

Although English got blank from French blanc ‘white’, its ultimate source is Germanic. Forms such as Old high German blanc ‘white’ suggest a prehistoric Germanic *blangkaz, which could have been borrowed into Romanic, the undifferentiated precursor of the romance languages, as *blancus – hence French blanc, Italian bianco, Spanish blanco, and Portuguese branco. The word originally meant simply ‘white’ in English, but this sense had all but died out by the early 18th century, by which time the present-day ‘unmarked’ was well established.

Other derivatives of French blanc include the verb blanch (14th c.), from French blanchier, and blanket (13th c.), from Old French blancquet. Blanco is a trade name (based on blanc) coined in the 1890s for a whitening preparation for military webbing (subsequently applied to the khaki-coloured version as well).
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