in the black

in the black


  • to not be in debt
  • to be in a profitable condition (usually referred to businesses)
  • to be making more (money) than spending
  • to be solvent or have money

Example Sentences

  1. The employees were in the black until the management wrapped up the entire business.
  2. I have worked very hard to move this account in the black.
  3. This country should make gambling legal so that its finances can finally be put in the black.
  4. She hoped that her business would be in the black after getting a few more contracts.
  5. My uncle is in the black, how can he file for a bankruptcy?
  6. Once they started paying more attention to their customers, they were back in the black.


This is an American slang which came out of how accounting records have been maintained. When a company would have a net profit (that is there is surplus after all of the expenses have been accounted for then it would get noted in black ink. But if there was a net loss then that would be highlighted in red ink.

Consequently, to be ‘in the black’ meant that the business was profitable and ‘in the red’ meant that there are losses and the company’s solvency could even be in danger. The literal meanings have now both become phrases.

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