\ ˈdärk How to pronounce dark (audio) \

Definition of dark

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : devoid or partially devoid of light : not receiving, reflecting, transmitting, or radiating light a dark room
b : transmitting only a portion of light dark glasses
2a : wholly or partially black dark clothing
b of a color : of low or very low lightness dark blue
c : being less light in color than other substances of the same kind dark rum
3a : arising from or showing evil traits or desires : evil the dark powers that lead to war
b : dismal, gloomy had a dark view of the future
c : lacking knowledge or culture : unenlightened a dark period in history
d : relating to grim or depressing circumstances dark humor
4a : not clear to the understanding
b : not known or explored because of remoteness the darkest reaches of the continent
5 : not fair in complexion : swarthy dark skin
6 : secret kept his plans dark
7 : possessing depth and richness a dark voice
8 : closed to the public the theater is dark in the summer



Definition of dark (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : a place or time of little or no light : night, nightfall get home before dark
b : absence of light : darkness afraid of the dark
2a : a color of low or very low lightness : a dark or deep color usually plurala painter who uses a lot of darks
b darks plural : clothing that is dark colored separated the darks and the lights before starting the laundry
in the dark
1 : in secrecy most of his dealings were done in the dark
2 : in ignorance kept the public in the dark about the agreement
go dark
1 : to become dark The room suddenly went dark.
2a : to stop operating or functioning : to shut down Most Salt Lake City restaurants go dark on Sundays …— Kurt Repanshek Andy Beal was one of 220 million subscribers to Skype … who saw the service go dark on Aug. 16.— Stephen Baker In the end, the heart stops, the cells die, the neurons go dark— Joshua Ferris
b communications : to stop broadcasting or transmitting : to go off-line The roosters were just beginning to crow in that lost hour before dawn when Lt. Col. Steve Russell of the Army's 4th Infantry Division ordered his men to "go dark" and roll their Humvees up to the edge of a lone farmhouse here.— William Booth


darked; darking; darks

Definition of dark (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

obsolete : to grow dark (see dark entry 1)

transitive verb

: to make dark

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Other Words from dark


darkish \ ˈdär-​kish How to pronounce dark (audio) \ adjective
darkly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for dark


obscure, dark, vague, enigmatic, cryptic, ambiguous, equivocal mean not clearly understandable. obscure implies a hiding or veiling of meaning through some inadequacy of expression or withholding of full knowledge. obscure poems dark implies an imperfect or clouded revelation often with ominous or sinister suggestion. muttered dark hints of revenge vague implies a lack of clear formulation due to inadequate conception or consideration. a vague sense of obligation enigmatic stresses a puzzling, mystifying quality. enigmatic occult writings cryptic implies a purposely concealed meaning. cryptic hints of hidden treasure ambiguous applies to language capable of more than one interpretation. an ambiguous directive equivocal applies to language left open to differing interpretations with the intention of deceiving or evading. moral precepts with equivocal phrasing

Examples of dark in a Sentence

Adjective She sat in the dark room alone. Soon it will be dark enough to see the stars. It was a dark and stormy night. Dark clouds of smoke were coming from the windows. She's wearing a dark suit to the interview. a man wearing dark clothing You've got dark circles under your eyes this morning. dark spots on the skin Noun He's 12 years old and still afraid of the dark. The burglars hid in the dark between the two buildings. He bought the kids special rings that glow in the dark. We'd better get home before dark. They waited until after dark to begin their escape. He uses lots of darks in his decorating. Wash the lights and the darks separately.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The Lions headquarters has too often been a dark and joyless place, especially in its offices. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions' Sheila Ford Hamp has a vision. She knows exactly what it sounds like.," 15 Jan. 2021 Making sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature. Korin Miller, SELF, "6 Ways to Manage Bipolar Disorder Triggers During COVID-19," 15 Jan. 2021 The mood perfectly captures what happened at the U.S. Capitol — fevered, dark, and apocalyptic. Rich Lowry, National Review, "The Flight 93 Post-Election," 15 Jan. 2021 Bookending the display in this, the introductory space, is a dark-skinned figure — a near life-size version of the miniatures clustered under glass — seated and in a white loincloth. Murray Whyte, BostonGlobe.com, "At Peabody Essex, a reset on South Asian art," 14 Jan. 2021 An occupant of the home observed a dark-colored SUV driving off. Washington Post, "Southern Maryland crime report," 13 Jan. 2021 Fruit flies usually appear light or dark brown in color with red eyes. Lauren Piro, Good Housekeeping, "5 Simple Ways to Get Rid of Fruit Flies in Your Home," 13 Jan. 2021 Rather than working only with the purest of primary tones, this palette employs their fun, pop-toned sisters and all the dark and light shades of them too. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Introducing: The Most Daring Color Palettes for Spring Weddings," 13 Jan. 2021 So Langbaan’s boat noodles ($16) come in a deep and dark oxtail broth. Michael Russell, oregonlive, "One of Portland’s most exclusive restaurants now serves delicious noodle soups: Takeout diaries," 13 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The many people who met him didn’t sense the dark, brooding, sometimes dangerous person who left Brooklyn. Nicholas Thompson, Wired, "The Unsettling Truth About the ‘Mostly Harmless’ Hiker," 12 Jan. 2021 No bright candles and nighties, no harmony-singing, just the cold December dark. Karin Altenberg, WSJ, "‘Wintering’ Review: Rest, Retreat and Renewal," 30 Dec. 2020 The boy had a handgun in his possession and was next to an unoccupied dark-colored SUV, engine still running, that appeared to have been struck by gunfire. Zach Murdock, courant.com, "Teen fatally shot, 3 men detained after Christmas Eve shooting in Waterbury," 24 Dec. 2020 In the candid snap, a visibly smitten Hailey has her arms around a shirtless Justin as the couple slow dances in the dark next to a swimming pool. Glenn Rowley, Billboard, "Hailey Bieber Reveals Moment She Knew She Loved Justin Bieber," 23 Dec. 2020 This group of humanlike primates spent winters sheltered inside dark, but safe caves. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Humans Used to Be Able to Hibernate, Evidence Suggests," 21 Dec. 2020 Partially in the dark as to that history, the second jury ruled for the city, too. Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times, "‘Justified’ or ‘despicable’? The twisted tale of an LAPD excessive force case," 3 Jan. 2021 As for the game itself, MLB has left everyone in the dark. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "Be patient, Giants fans — it’s all about the Dodgers and Padres now," 2 Jan. 2021 Others, if there wasn’t much on the ground for sledding, just sort of found themselves there, sitting in the dark, alone, in pairs or with their kids, or friends, starting a new year by going to the movies. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "By the decade: What Chicago moviegoers watched on New Year’s Day," 31 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The photographs that came out of that shoot show a stunning array of skin tones, from light to dark like a rainbow of brown skin. Susan Dunne, courant.com, "The Melanin Project showcases the beauty of Black skin while working to combat colorism," 13 Nov. 2020 San Francisco residents awoke Wednesday to dark orange skies clouded with smoke that had blown in from wildfires burning in national forests across California and Oregon. NBC News, "See before and after photos of San Francisco Bay Area shrouded in smoke," 10 Sep. 2020 As twilight transitions to dark, the bats and owls come out to feed. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Faces of unemployment: This Labor Day, 10 San Diegans tell us about unemployed life in the time of COVID," 6 Sep. 2020 Black tomato cultivars are those with fruit that have deep burgundy to dark reddish brown to black skin when ripe — the flesh is also generally darkly pigmented. Dan Gill, NOLA.com, "Dan Gill's mailbox: Leggy plants, black tomatoes and building a better raised garden," 19 Aug. 2020 The facility is open from 8 a.m. to dark daily during the summer and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily in the winter. Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'A golfer's playground': New Berlin practice facility features tech driving range, playing holes, and indoor simulators," 13 Aug. 2020 More bizarre still is the physical boundary where the exoplanet’s light zone transitions to dark—and where Enrenreich and his colleagues predict the existence of pelting drops of iron rain. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "On This Scorching-Hot Exoplanet, a Forecast of Molten Iron Rain," 12 Mar. 2020 Research labs are happy to sacrifice PhD students to such ventures, but PhD-bots don’t scale well, are high maintenance, and their deployment leads to dark looks. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Glowing silicon nanowire reveals how to put optics in your CPU," 11 Apr. 2020 When going from light to dark its really just a waiting game. Kaitlyn Frey, PEOPLE.com, "Kendall Jenner's Colorist on Bringing the Model Back to Brunette for the Emmys: 'She's Happy'," 23 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dark.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dark


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for dark

Adjective, Noun, and Verb

Middle English derk, from Old English deorc; akin to Old High German tarchannen to hide

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Learn More about dark

Time Traveler for dark

Time Traveler

The first known use of dark was before the 12th century

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Statistics for dark

Last Updated

21 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dark. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for dark

How to pronounce dark (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dark

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having very little or no light
: not light in color : of a color that is closer to black than white
of a color : having more black than white : not light



English Language Learners Definition of dark (Entry 2 of 2)

: a state in which no light can be seen
: a place where little or no light can be seen
: the time of day when night begins : the time when the sky becomes dark for the night
\ ˈdärk How to pronounce dark (audio) \
darker; darkest

Kids Definition of dark

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : without light or without much light a dark closet
2 : not light in color My dog has a dark coat.
3 : not bright and cheerful : gloomy Don't look on the dark side of things.
4 : arising from or characterized by evil The villain revealed his dark side.



Kids Definition of dark (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : absence of light : darkness I'm not afraid of the dark.
2 : a place or time of little or no light We got home before dark.

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Comments on dark

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