in black and white

in black and white


  • printed form of a document
  • formally, on paper and in writing
  • if something is in black and white, it means one has to be correct and second has to be incorrect
  • in absolute terms; without shades of grey
  • seeing things in absolute extremes
  • lacking colours except black and white

Example Sentences

  1. Bank demanded in submit the proposal in black and white.
  2. My daughter is still very young to understand the shades of grey, she talks in black and white.
  3. Capital punishment is not a black and white issue.
  4. Please tell me in black and white that you want me to stay in your life or no?
  5. Stop looking at things “in black and white“, real life situations do have some grey patches as well.
  6. He asked his old mother not to worry as the terms of the hand agreement were spelled out in black and white.
  7. This is good to have the agreement in black and white.
  8. Kara found black and white photographs of his parents. (Literal example)


Its first use dates back to the 19th century civil war of America. Both Blacks and Whites used to consider them as correct and there was a deadlock on every minor to major issue. Every member of the race tries to provide them correct and prove the other one incorrect which lead the formation of the phrase “in black and white”. It means that in real life situation it is not compulsory that one person is right and other person is wrong, maybe both are right at their own place.


  • clearly, firmly, frankly, unconditionally, unmistakably, obviously, certainly, definitely, definitively
  • on paper, printed, written down, set down,  in print, committed to paper, on record, documented, recorded, clearly/plainly/explicitly defined

I 5 Thoughts

5 Thoughts

A contract is black ink on white paper – hence the term ‘there it is in black and white’ – it is printed and is meant to offer legal certainty. Sometimes checking how someone is useful for understanding what they mean, because it was not originally a term about race.

- Sharyn October 9, 2021

It is amazing but they are different meanings of In black or white

- Gbene June 16, 2021

Thank you for the examples. I was confused in black and blue and black and white.

- Vanshika October 4, 2017

I leave my comment for someone ‘Man in Black’ then he gave me answer No ‘Black in White’.
I can’t understand his meaning ‘Black in White’ can you help me what it means?

- Durr E Nayyab September 3, 2017

Sometimes, learning English is too complicated, when you face such types of idioms. The meaning of “in black and white” is very different from it’s literal meaning.

I wish this example was correct.
Hey, I have got visa to visit Canada you can check it in those black and white.

- Barbie April 15, 2016

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Idiom of the Day

on edge

Meaning: to feel tense or unable to relax

Example: I am sorry for snapping at you. I have been a bit on edge since I found out that they are selling our company. Read on


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