black (def 33).
displaying only black and white tones; without color, as a picture or chart:
a black-and-white photograph.
partly black and partly white; made up of separate areas or design elements of black and white:
black-and-white shoes.
of, relating to, or constituting a two-valued system, as of logic or morality; absolute:
To those who think in black-and-white terms, a person must be either entirely good or entirely bad.
Contemporary Examples

Rick Santorum’s Hobby Lobby Horror Movie Dean Obeidallah July 1, 2014
Newsweek’s Nonsense “Who’d Be Kate” Survey Tom Sykes September 25, 2014
Migrants in Limbo Bryan Curtis July 29, 2010
How ‘Cosmos’ Bungles the History of Religion and Science David Sessions March 22, 2014
The Modernist Wizard of Oz Blake Gopnik August 9, 2012

Historical Examples

The Best Short Stories of 1917 Various
The Boy Hunters Captain Mayne Reid
Neighbors Unknown Charles G. D. Roberts
The Trail Book Mary Austin
The Oregon Trail Francis Parkman, Jr.


a photograph, picture, sketch, etc, in black, white, and shades of grey rather than in colour
(as modifier): black-and-white film

the neutral tones of black, white, and intermediate shades of grey Compare colour (sense 2)
in black and white

in print or writing
in extremes: he always saw things in black and white


A capsule of an amphetamine and a sedative, or of two amphetamines (1970s+ Narcotics)
A police car: Hanger was patrolling Interstate 35 in his black-and-white (1960s+)

A monochromatic picture, drawing, television image, computer monitor, or film, as opposed to one using many colors, as in Photos in black and white fade less than those taken with color film. [ Late 1800s ]
Also, black or white. Involving a very clear distinction, without any gradations. For example, He tended to view everything as a black and white issue—it was either right or wrong—whereas his partner always found gray areas. This usage is based on the association of black with evil and white with virtue, which dates back at least 2,000 years. [ Early 1800s ]
Also see: gray area
in black and white. Written down or in print, and therefore official. For example, The terms of our agreement were spelled out in black and white, so there should be no question about it. This term alludes to black ink or print on white paper. Shakespeare used it in Much Ado about Nothing (5:1). [ Late 1500s ]


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  • Black-art

    witchcraft; magic. noun the black art, another name for black magic

  • Black-arts-movement

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