be·​night·​ed bi-ˈnī-təd How to pronounce benighted (audio)
: overtaken by darkness or night
Benighted travellers … have seen his midnight candle glimmering.W. B. Yeats
: existing in a state of intellectual, moral, or social darkness : unenlightened
spreading their message among these poor benighted people
a strange, benighted country
benightedly adverb
benightedness noun

Examples of benighted in a Sentence

the poor benighted souls who do not know the joys of reading
Recent Examples on the Web Under the guise of morality, benighted political interests are being advanced. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 7 Nov. 2023 Stephanie and her Black girlfriend, Maya (Arielle Moore), are social justice warriors who try to guide Riz, recently cast as a new superhero, the Chameleon, on how to respond to the taint of her suddenly benighted film project. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 20 Oct. 2023 The movie largely follows Ernest, and thereby calls viewers into complicity with his stunted and benighted perspective, denying them a way out of their own association with the system of depravity that sucks him in. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 20 Oct. 2023 At Eng’s urging, Varley ended his job at LIRR on Friday, Aug. 25, and began his job overseeing the T’s benighted stations on the following Monday. Taylor Dolven,, 6 Sep. 2023 Fauci had already received death threats from members of this benighted group, resulting in the government placing him under the protection of armed federal agents. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 25 Aug. 2023 Brayden was as destined for lacrosse as Lucifer was to fall, my freedom and savings the cost of that benighted destiny. Dennard Dayle, The New Yorker, 20 July 2023 Those deaths might be understood as products of an earlier, benighted time, when the average Nigerian knew far less about genetic testing and disease management. Krithika Varagur, Harper's Magazine, 10 July 2023 The reference is to that benighted state’s surprising success in improving reading scores for its fourth-graders through a focused program of literacy instruction for teachers and pupils alike. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 3 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'benighted.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of benighted was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near benighted

Cite this Entry

“Benighted.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


be·​night·​ed bi-ˈnīt-əd How to pronounce benighted (audio)

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