black hole

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See also: blackhole and black-hole


English Wikipedia has articles on:
The first image of a black hole, released in 2019.


In reference to celestial bodies, physicist Hong-Yee Chiu attributed the term to his colleague Robert H. Dicke, who stated around 1960–1961 that the objects were "like the Black Hole of Calcutta". The first known usage in print was by journalist Ann Ewing in 1964. Widespread popularisation of the term is generally credited to a 1967 lecture by physicist John Wheeler.[1] [2]



black hole (plural black holes)

  1. A gravitationally domineering celestial body with an event horizon from which even light cannot escape; the most dense material in the universe, condensed into a singularity, usually formed by a collapsing massive star.
  2. (figuratively) A void into which things disappear, or from which nothing emerges.
    1. A sphere of influence into which or from which communication or similar activity is precluded.
      • 2006 October 23, Tom Zeller Jr., “The Internet Black Hole That Is North Korea”, The New York Times
        Julien Pain, head of the Internet desk at Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based group which tracks censorship around the world, put it more bluntly. “It is by far the worst Internet black hole,” he said.
      • 2000 November 26, Linda Seebach, “Unwanted e-mail belongs in an Internet black hole”, [3]
        you'll have to love U.S. District Court Judge John Kane's decision to keep Denver-based out of an Internet black hole.... MAPS maintains a database of Internet addresses that it believes send or relay spam. It’s called the "Realtime Blackhole List"
    2. An entity which consumes time or resources without demonstrable utility.
      • 2004 September 30, Andrew P. Leyden, “The Internet black hole”, PenguinSix, at [4]
        Now that I’m basically up all night US Time, I’ve started to notice that there really isn’t that much going on on the net between say 10:00 and 9:00 AM EDT.
      • 2004 November 16, Jenifer Hanen, “How I fell down an Internet Black Hole....”, Black Phoebe, at [5]
        I finished some client work and gave myself 30 minutes to fall down one of my favorite internet black holes: genealogical research. Four hours plus some later, my eyes were burning in my head
  3. A dungeon or dark cell in a prison; a military lock-up or guardroom.
    • H. Spencer
      A discipline of unlimited autocracy, upheld by rods, and ferules, and the black hole.
  4. (Internet, often attributive) A place where incoming traffic is silently discarded.
    One way of fighting spam is to use a blackhole list maintained on a blackhole server.
  5. (programming) A bit bucket; a place of permanent oblivion for data.



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black hole

  1. (transitive, Internet) To redirect (network traffic, etc.) nowhere; to discard (incoming traffic).
    • 2005, Victor Oppleman, Oliver Friedrichs, Brett Watson, Extreme exploits: advanced defenses against hardcore hacks (page 186)
      Select a nonglobally routed prefix, such as the Test-Net (RFC 3330), to use as the next hop of any attacked prefix to be blackholed.


  1. ^ Tom Siegfried (2013-12-23), “50 years later, it’s hard to say who named black holes”, in ScienceNews[1], Society for Science, archived from the original on 7 July 2016, retrieved 2016-07-07
  2. ^ Michael Quinion (2008-04-26), “Black Hole”, in World Wide Words[2], archived from the original on 7 July 2016, retrieved 2016-07-07