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blink (v.)

1580s, perhaps from Middle Dutch blinken "to glitter," which is of uncertain origin, possibly, with German blinken "to gleam, sparkle, twinkle," from a nasalized form of base found in Old English blican "to shine, glitter" (from PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn").

Middle English had blynke (c. 1300) in the sense "a brief gleam or spark," perhaps a variant of blench "to move suddenly or sharply; to raise one's eyelids" (c. 1200), perhaps from the rare Old English blencan "deceive."

Originally with a vague and shifting set of meanings, many now obsolete, having to do with motion of the eyes; in earlier use "the notion of 'glancing' predominates; in the latter, that of 'winking'" [OED]. Blink as "to wink" is attested by 1761. Meaning "cast a sudden, fleeting light" is from 1786; that of "shut the eyes momentarily and involuntarily" is from 1858. Related: Blinked; blinking. The last, as a euphemism for a stronger word, is attested by 1914.

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blink (n.)
1590s, "a glance," of uncertain origin, perhaps from a continental Germanic language; see blink (v.). As is the case with the verb, there is a similar noun in Middle English, from c. 1300, that might represent a native form of the same root. Meaning "action of blinking" is from 1924. From the sense "a flicker, a spark," comes on the blink "nearly extinguished," hence "not functioning" (1901).
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blinkard (n.)
a mocking term for a person with bad eyesight, c. 1500, from blink (v.) + -ard. Figuratively, "one who lacks intellectual perception" (1520s).
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blinker (n.)
1630s, "one who blinks," agent noun from blink (v.). As a type of horse eye screen to keep the animal looking straight ahead, from 1789 (compare blinder). Slang meaning "the eye" is from 1816. Meaning "intermittent flashing light" is from 1923.
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lickety-split (adj.)
1852, American English; earlier lickety-cut, lickety-click, and simply licketie (1817), probably a fanciful extension of lick (n.1) in its dialectal sense of "very fast sprint in a race" (1809) on the notion of a flick of the tongue as a fast thing (compare blink, snap).
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micacious (adj.)

"sparkling," 1836, from Late Latin micāre "to shine, sparkle, flash, glitter, quiver," from PIE *mik-(e)ie- "to blink" (source also of Czech mikati "to move abruptly," Upper Sorbian mikac "to blink").

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nictitate (v.)

"to wink," 1822, from Medieval Latin nictitatus, past participle of nictitare, frequentative of Latin nictare "wink, blink, signal with the eyes," related to nicere "to beckon," from PIE root *kneigwh- "to blink, to draw together (the eyes or eyelids)," source also of Gothic hniewan, Old High German nigan "to bow, be inclined." Related: Nictitated; nictitating (1713). Earlier form was nictate (v.), 1690s, from Latin nictare.

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nictation (n.)

"the act of winking," 1620s, from Latin nictationem (nominative nictatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of nictare "to wink, blink" (see nictitate). Alternative form nictitation is from 1784.

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morn (n.)

"the first part of the day, the morning," late 14c., contracted from Middle English morwen, morghen, from Old English (Mercian) margen (dative marne), earlier morgen (dative morgne) "morning, forenoon, sunrise," from Proto-Germanic *murgana- "morning" (source also of Old Saxon morgan, Old Frisian morgen, Middle Dutch morghen, Dutch morgen, Old High German morgan, German Morgen, Gothic maurgins), from PIE *merk-, perhaps from root *mer- "to blink, twinkle" (source of Lithuanian mirgėti "to blink"). By late 19c. relegated to poetry.

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twinkle (v.)
Old English twinclian "to twinkle, wink," frequentative of twincan "to wink, blink," with -el (3). Twincan is related to Middle High German zwinken, German zwinkern, and probably somehow imitative. Related: Twinkled; twinkling. The noun is recorded from 1540s. Phrase in the twinkling of an eye "in a very brief time" is attested from c. 1300.
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