ETYM Old Eng. blak, as. blaec; akin to Icel. blakkr dark, swarthy, Swed. bläck ink, Dan. blaek, Old High Germ. blach, lg. and Dutch blaken to burn with a black smoke. Not akin to as. blâc, Eng. bleak pallid.
1. Being of the achromatic color of maximum darkness; having little or no hue owing to absorption of almost all incident light; SYN. achromatic.
2. Extremely dark; SYN. pitch-black, pitch-dark.
3. Dressed in black.
4. Of or belonging to a racial group having dark skin especially of sub-Saharan African origin.
5. Stemming from evil characteristics or forces; wicked or dishonorable; SYN. dark, sinister.
6. (Of events) Having extremely unfortunate or dire consequences; bringing ruin; SYN. calamitous, disastrous, fatal, fateful.
7. (Of intelligence operations) Deliberately misleading.
8. (Of the face) Made black especially as with suffused blood; SYN. blackened.
9. (Used of conduct or character) Deserving or bringing disgrace or shame; SYN. disgraceful, ignominious, inglorious, opprobrious, shameful.
10. Marked by anger or resentment or hostility.
11. Harshly ironic or sinister; SYN. grim, mordant.
12. Offering little or no hope; SYN. bleak, dim.
13. Soiled with dirt or soot.
14. (Of coffee) Without cream or sugar.
African-American · Afro-American · angry · black-market · blackened · bleak · bootleg · calamitous · clad · clothed · colored · colorful · coloured · contraband · covert · dark · dark-skinned · dim · dirty · disastrous · disgraceful · dishonorable · dishonourable · evil · fatal · fateful · grim · hopeless · ignominious · illegal · inglorious · mordant · negro · negroid · non-white · opprobrious · pitch-black · pitch-dark · sarcastic · shameful · sinister · smuggled · smutty · soiled · unclean · undiluted · unfortunate
(1909-) Azeri-born US philosopher and mathematician. Investigating the question, “What is mathematics?”, he divided the answers into three schools: the logical, the formalist, and the intuitional.
Black, born in Baku, studied philosophy at Cambridge and London universities. Moving to the US 1940, he worked from 1946 at Cornell, where he was professor of philosophy 1954–77.
Black described mathematics as the study of all structures whose form may be expressed in symbols. Within that broad spectrum are the three main schools. The logical considers that all mathematical concepts, such as numbers or differential coefficients, are capable of purely logical definition. The formalist concerns itself with the structural properties of symbols, independent of their meaning. The formalist approach has been especially fruitful in its application to geometry. The intuitional considers mathematics to be grounded on the basic intuition of the possibility of constructing an infinite series of numbers.
This approach has had most influence in the theory of sets of points.
Black’s works include The Nature of Mathematics 1950 and Problems of Analysis 1954.
(1728-1799) Scottish physicist and chemist who in 1754 discovered carbon dioxide (which he called “fixed air”). By his investigations in 1761 of latent heat and specific heat, he laid the foundation for the work of his pupil James Watt.
In 1756 Black described how carbonates become more alkaline when they lose carbon dioxide, whereas the taking-up of carbon dioxide reconverts them. He discovered that carbon dioxide behaves like an acid, is produced by fermentation, respiration, and the combustion of carbon, and guessed that it is present in the atmosphere. He also discovered the bicarbonates (hydrogen carbonates).
Born in Bordeaux, France, Black qualified as a doctor in Edinburgh, where he became professor of chemistry.
Black noticed that when ice melts it absorbs heat from its surroundings without itself undergoing a change in temperature, from which he argued that the heat must have combined with the ice particles and become latent. He also observed that equal masses of different substances require different quantities of heat to change their temperatures by the same amount, an observation that established the concept of specific heat capacity.
(1924-) British physiologist, director of therapeutic research at Wellcome Laboratories (near London) from 1978. He was active in the development of beta-blockers (which reduce the rate of heartbeat) and antiulcer drugs. He shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine 1988 with US scientists George Hitchings and Gertrude Elion (1918– ).
(1886-1971) US jurist. He was elected to the US Senate 1926 and despite his earlier association with the Ku Klux Klan, distinguished himself as a progressive populist. He was appointed to the US Supreme Court by F D Roosevelt 1937, resigning shortly before his death.
Born in Harlan, Alabama, US, Black was admitted to the bar 1906. He served as judge and prosecuting attorney in Birmingham, Alabama before entering the Senate.
Among his decisions concerning personal and civil rights were those rendered in Board of Education v. Barnette 1943, Korematsu v. US 1944, and Gideon v. Wainwright 1963.
(1884-1934) Canadian anatomist. In 1927, when professor of anatomy at the Union Medical College, Peking (Beijing), he unearthed the remains of Peking man, an example of one of our human ancestors.
1. The quality or state of the achromatic color of least lightness (bearing the least resemblance to white); SYN. blackness.
2. Black clothing (worn as a sign of mourning).
3. (Chess or checkers) The darker-colored pieces.
English term first used 1625 to describe West Africans, now used to refer to Africans south of the Sahara and to people of African descent living outside Africa. In some countries such as the UK (but not in North America) the term is sometimes also used for people originally from the Indian subcontinent, for Australian Aborigines, and peoples of Melanesia.
The term “black”, at one time considered offensive by many people, was first adopted by militants in the US in the mid-1960s to emphasize ethnic pride; they rejected the terms “colored” and “Negro” as euphemistic. “Black” has since become the preferred term in the US and largely in the UK. Currently, US blacks often prefer the term “African-American”.
Black Africans were first taken to the West Indies in large numbers as slaves by the Spanish in the early 16th century and to the North American mainland in the early 17th century. They were transported to South America by both the Spanish and Portuguese from the 16th century. African blacks were also taken to Europe to work as slaves and servants. Some of the indigenous coastal societies in W Africa were heavily involved in the slave trade and became wealthy on its proceeds. Sometimes, black sailors settled in European ports on the Atlantic seaboard, such as Liverpool and Bristol, England. Although blacks fought beside whites in the American Revolution, the US Constitution (ratified 1788) did not redress the slave trade, and slaves were given no civil rights.
Slavery was gradually abolished in the northern US states during the early 19th century, but as the South's economy had been based upon slavery, it was one of the issues concerning states' rights that led to the secession of the South, which provoked the American Civil War 1861–65. During the Civil War about 200,000 blacks fought in the Union (Northern) army, but in segregated units led by white officers.
The Emancipation Proclamation 1863 of President Abraham Lincoln officially freed the slaves (about 4 million), but it could not be enforced until the Union victory 1865 and the period after the war known as the Reconstruction. Freed slaves were often resented by poor whites as economic competitors, and vigilante groups in the South, such as the Ku Klux Klan were formed to intimidate them. In addition, although freed slaves had full US citizenship under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, and were thus entitled to vote, they were often disenfranchised in practice by state and local literacy tests and poll taxes.
A “separate but equal” policy was established when the US Supreme Court ruled 1896 (Plessy v. Ferguson) that segregation was legal if equal facilities were provided for blacks and whites. The ruling was overturned 1954 (Brown v. Board of Education) with the Supreme Court decision outlawing segregation in state schools. This led to a historic confrontation in Little Rock, Arkansas, 1957 when Governor Orval Faubus attempted to prevent black students from entering Central High School, and President Eisenhower sent federal troops to enforce their right to attend.
Another landmark in the blacks' struggle for civil rights was the Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama 1955, which first brought Martin Luther King Jr to national attention. In the early 1960s the civil-rights movement had gained impetus, largely under the leadership of King, who in 1957 had founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), a coalition group advocating nonviolence. Moderate groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had been active since early in the century; for the first time they were joined in large numbers by whites, in particular students, as in the historic march converging on Washington, DC 1963 from all over the US. At about this time, impatient with the lack of results gained through moderation, the militant Black Power movements began to emerge, such as the Black Panther Party founded 1966, and black separatist groups such as the Black Muslims gained support.
Increasing pressure led to the passage of federal legislation, the Civil Rights acts of 1964 and 1968, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, under President Lyndon Johnson; they guaranteed equal rights under the law and prohibited discrimination in public facilities, schools, employment, and voting. However, in the 1980s, despite some advances, legislation, and affirmative action (positive discrimination), blacks, who comprise some 12% of the US population, continued to suffer discrimination and inequality of opportunities in practice in such areas as education, employment, and housing. Despite these obstacles, many blacks have made substanital contributions in the arts, the sciences, and politics.
A person with dark skin who comes from Africa (or whose ancestors came from Africa); Also called: black person, blackamoor, Negro, Negroid.
1. River 500 miles (805 kilometers) SE Asia rising in central Yunnan, China and flowing SE to Red River in N Vietnam.
2. Town in Alabama (USA); zip code 36314.
1. To become black
2. To make black
3. To declare (as a business or industry) subject to boycott by trade-union members (chiefly British)
4. Blackball, vote against, especially by placing a black ball in the ballot box; reject for membership; exile.