black and white

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black and white

1. Literally, lacking bright colors, as of a monochromatic image. In what decade did color movies start to replace black and white ones?
2. Of the utmost clarity; clearly defined or differentiated; without any room for confusion, ambiguity, or discrepancy. Love isn't always black and white, you know. You have to accept that there are many gray areas in relationships. Don't debate me about it. The rules are black and white, and you broke them.
See also: and, black, white

black and white

1. 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]
2. 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.
3. 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]
See also: and, black, white

(in) black and ˈwhite

(as) absolutely right or wrong, good or bad, with no grades between them: My grandmother has very rigid ideas of character and behaviour; she sees everything in black and white.It’s not a black-and-white issue.
See also: and, black, white

black and white

n. the police; a black and white police patrol car; any police car. Call the black and whites. We got trouble here.
See also: and, black, white