DEFINITION of 'Red Ink'

A slang term denoting a financial loss. When accountants make physical entries into a financial ledger, red ink is used to show a negative number. Black ink is used to show that a number is positive or profitable.

BREAKING DOWN 'Red Ink'

Red as a color is often used in business to indicate that something unwanted is happening. The color also is used in this context outside of a firm's balance sheet. For example, regulations governing businesses are often referred to as red tape. Investors may also refer to a security position losing money as being in the red.

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