black·​ness ˈblak-ˌnəs How to pronounce blackness (audio)
: the quality or state of being black: such as
: black color
Massive pots of oil, shellacked to a profound blackness by seasons of smoke and burnt grease, sit above burning slats of wood that seem to have been salvaged from the wreckage of the last hurricane.Pete Wells
: darkness
As Kit lay wide awake in the blackness, some distant shouts, a snatch of raucous, unrestrained singing such as she had never heard before in Wethersfield, sent her mind back to the days of her childhood.Elizabeth George Speare
: a gloomy or somber feeling, tone, or character
"… Think of me at this hour, in a strange place, labouring under a blackness of distress that no fancy can exaggerate …"Robert Louis Stevenson
or less commonly Blackness
: the fact or state of belonging to a population group that has dark pigmentation of the skin : the fact or state of being Black (see black entry 1 sense 2a)
"In those days, racism and discrimination was overt. … people could see my blackness and would react to that. …"Annette Nelson
: the social and cultural identity and experience of Black people
I, on the other hand, feel it is my blackness (not my skin color so much as the culture that nurtured me) that causes me to open myself, acknowledge my soul and its varied components …Alice Walker
… the social construction of blackness, a social construction whose phenotypic reach I could not escape.Devon W. Carbado
also : representations or expressions of this (as in art or literature)
… a conversation … exploring Blackness and gender identity within fine art and popular culture. Ann Fink

Examples of blackness in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the midnight blackness this spring after the Jersey Pride returned to port, the vessel’s mate and deckhands described a job-site turnaround. C.j. Chivers James Patrick Cronin Elena Hecht Anna Diamond Quinton Kamara, New York Times, 6 June 2024 Gibson saw McCandless suspended alone in the abyssal blackness—angled slightly from the vertical, his white suit seeming to glow beneath the unfiltered sunlight of outer space, the luminous blue band of Earth’s atmosphere curving away beneath him. Adam Higginbotham, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 May 2024 In coastal cities from Naples to Venice, the sea glitters tantalizingly in the afternoon sun, but beneath its surface lurks an unknowable expanse of bottomless blackness. Judy Berman, TIME, 4 Apr. 2024 Now the blackness has reached its apex, occluding all but a sliver of light. Jennifer Homans, The New Yorker, 4 Mar. 2024 At first glance, the pinpoints of light shining in the blackness of space look like little stars. Dean Regas, The Enquirer, 2 Mar. 2024 Manny looked out the window and saw part of his neighbor’s roof break off and disappear into the swirling blackness swallowing the sky. Alicia Victoria Lozano, NBC News, 6 Feb. 2024 Our long and memorable evening ended in pitch blackness. Neal B. Freeman, National Review, 7 Feb. 2024 As the company prepares for its upcoming uncrewed test flights, the dream of experiencing the blackness of space from the comfort of Spaceship Neptune is closer than ever before. Kurt Knutsson, Cyberguy Report, Fox News, 6 Jan. 2024

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

Word History


Middle English blaknesse, from blak black entry 1 + -nesse -ness

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of blackness was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near blackness

Cite this Entry

“Blackness.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

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