In many games and even 1998's Charmed, a blink ability is the ability to instantly teleport several feet in front of you. Where did this term come from? Why is it "blink"?


I don’t know if this is the earliest example but Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (Players Handbook, 1978) has the Blink spell, a 2’ teleportation spell described as:

By means of this spell, the magic-user causes his or her material form to "blink" out and back to this plane once again in random period and direction during the duration of each minute the spell is in effect.

Additionally, “Blink dogs” are described in the 1975 Greyhawk Supplement as having “limited teleportation”.

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  • I think this is probably the best we're going to do! This may very well be the origin. – Jeremy Oct 11 '19 at 6:06

'Charmed' appears to be the first mainstream usage of it, and it just made its way into the culture from there. According to the Charmed wiki, the term references the phrase "blink of an eye", as it's the fastest form of teleportation, and usually doesn't involve any flashy magic effects. In WoW, for example, a mage's Blink is instant, but teleporting long distances or opening a portal requires a long cast.

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    What year is Charmed? – Laurel Sep 29 '19 at 2:11
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    " Charmed" ran from 1998-2006. – Cascabel Sep 29 '19 at 12:16

I would guess this comes from I Dream of Jeannie where it was common for her to invoke her powers by crossing her arms and blinking while nodding her head. Most common usage was probably teleportation.

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  • This seems rather far fetched. – Moyli Sep 29 '19 at 17:27
  • @Moyli: I think it’s better than something that came decades later...(charmed and 1975 supplement). It was a popular TV show, and that was how it was (and still is) referred to as “Jeannie blinked”. It wasn’t short range but it was popping thin* into and out of existence. – jmoreno Sep 29 '19 at 18:30

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