transitive verb

: to overtake by darkness or night especially before the end of a journey
usually used in the passive
there was no fear of our being benighted, for in Norway at this season it never gets darkFrances Pitt
: to envelop in intellectual, moral, or social darkness
what men … call religion now benighting half the earthJohn Wilson †1854
usually used in the passive
: to make dark especially by depriving of light : obscure
the cliffs were so high that the bay itself was already benightedClemence Dane

Word History


be- + night, noun

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Dictionary Entries Near benight

Cite this Entry

“Benight.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on benight

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!