black·​ness | \ ˈblak-ˌnəs How to pronounce blackness (audio) \

Definition of blackness

1 the quality or state of being black: such as
a : 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
b : 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
c : 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
2 or less commonly Blackness
a : 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
b : 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

First Known Use of blackness

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for blackness

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near blackness

black-necked stilt


black nightshade

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Cite this Entry

“Blackness.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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Britannica English: Translation of blackness for Arabic Speakers


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