be·​night | \ bi-ˈnīt, bē- \

Definition of benight

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

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!

History and Etymology for benight

be- + night, noun

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about benight

Statistics for benight

Cite this Entry

“Benight.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on benight

Nglish: Translation of benight for Spanish Speakers

Comments on benight

What made you want to look up benight? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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