dark

adjective
\ ˈdärk \

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

dark

noun

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 plural a 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

dark

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from dark

Adjective

darkish \ ˈdär-​kish \ adjective
darkly adverb
darkness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for dark

Adjective

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Several studied the fundamental identity divisions further polarizing and dividing the United States, while another focused specifically on the dark sides of social media’s influence on politics. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The 9 thinkers who made sense of 2018’s chaos," 27 Dec. 2018 For some distinctly non-Christmas Christmas fare, the Tim Burton classic will give you feel-good cheer with a bit of a darker side—think of it as a holiday movie for Halloween-lovers. Vogue, "The 13 Best Movies to Watch on Christmas Morning," 24 Dec. 2018 On a dark winter’s night in November 2001, R.P. hid on the grounds of the Happy House while 35 government officials were shot dead in a rampage that would be the biggest battle of the Nepalese civil war. Sophy Roberts, Condé Nast Traveler, "On Your Next Trip to Nepal, Rent the House Sir Edmund Hillary Loved," 20 Dec. 2018 While December is known for its holiday spirit, this month also guarantees shorter and darker days. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Winter Solstice 2018: Who Celebrates the First Day of Winter?," 20 Dec. 2018 Brush for at least two minutes at a time, and avoid dark soda, coffee and tea. Seventeen.com Editors, Seventeen, "50 Life-Changing Prom Beauty Tips You Haven't Heard Before," 19 Dec. 2018 Some fans were upset with the sharp turn Sabrina takes toward the dark side in the last few episodes of Part 1. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina," 18 Dec. 2018 In this op-ed, Teen Vogue’s Weekend Editor De Elizabeth explains how Pete Davidson’s recent Instagram post exposes a dark side of fan culture. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Pete Davidson's Instagram Post About Mental Health Is a Reminder Not to Harass Celebs Online," 17 Dec. 2018 The royals have been exploring the darker side of beauty this month. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Princess Eugenie Just Got a Post-Wedding Hair Makeover," 12 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Containing a single oak with branches outstretched in arboreal eloquence, it is surrounded by walls of dark stained cedar. Julie V. Iovine, WSJ, "A Buoyant Building for Looking and Learning," 12 Nov. 2018 Inslee responded to the proposal in a statement that Washington state officials had been left in the dark on any planning by the Trump administration. Matthew Brown, The Seattle Times, "West Coast military installations eyed for US fuel exports," 16 Oct. 2018 Unlike some local high school coaches in recent years who have lost players to prep schools, Coolman was not left in the dark with Newman. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "Valparaiso coach disappointed but supportive of Brandon Newman's prep school decision," 7 July 2018 Leonard played just nine games last season with the Spurs left in the dark for much of his recovery. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "Report: Kawhi Leonard hid from the Spurs when they visited him in New York," 5 July 2018 While the public remains in the dark for now about what happened to these priceless jewels, don't be surprised if more start popping up soon. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Why Princess Diana’s Jewelry Might Start Appearing in Public More," 31 May 2018 Google is offering yet another discount on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, its latest flagship smartphones known for their impressive cameras — particularly in the dark. Cameron Faulkner, The Verge, "You have another chance to save on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL," 9 Dec. 2018 So enjoy Night Sight, just try to avoid bumping into anything dangerous while hunting down great photos in the dark. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Pixel's Night Sight is Declaring War on Flash Photography," 15 Nov. 2018 Most of the crashes occurred in the dark, and SUVs are playing a growing part in them, the study says. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Halloween is a scary night to be a pedestrian," 30 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

One of the Green Berets, a weapons specialist, pulled aside the blanket and revealed a hole, perhaps 5 feet high and 3 feet wide, leading into a tunnel carved deep and dark into the hillside. Michael M. Phillips, WSJ, "‘I Think I’ve Been Shot’: Nighttime Raid in Afghanistan Reveals New U.S. Strategy," 5 Dec. 2018 The truth is Filipino people run the gamut from light skin to dark skin and everything in between. Jessica Andrews, Teen Vogue, "Kelsey Merritt on Making History as the First Filipino Model at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show," 8 Nov. 2018 His background is a bit more freewheeling, but also dark: his father, a schoolteacher, is kind and supportive, while his mother, who suffered a traumatic brain injury years before, has a penchant for shedding her clothes in public. refinery29.com, "On Chesil Beach Review: Can You Have Love Without Sex?," 16 May 2018 Full Coverage Concealer, $5, available in nine shades that match light to dark skin tones, plus three color-correcting hues. Brooke Shunatona, Cosmopolitan, "The 30 Best Concealers That Will Completely Cover Your Acne," 22 Mar. 2016 Heavy Metal Flea Market isn't so literal; the event begins with metal as its starting-off point and explore everything from monster-movie culture to clothing to dark mystical stuff. John Petkovic, cleveland.com, "Now That's Class and Beachland Ballroom to host music-themed flea markets," 7 Dec. 2017 Fun and dark all at once, the song is a feel-good revenge tune with powerful elements. Tamar Herman, Billboard, "20 K-Pop Songs for Your Halloween Playlist by BTS, BIGBANG, EXO & More," 31 Oct. 2017 Living humans come packaged in a wide range of hues — from pale and freckly in Ireland to dark brown in southern India, Australia and New Guinea. Carl Zimmer, New York Times, "Genes for Skin Color Rebut Dated Notions of Race, Researchers Say," 12 Oct. 2017 At McClellan, the air tankers work from 8 a.m. to dark if conditions allow. Hudson Sangree, sacbee, "Air tankers circle nonstop between Santa Rosa and Sacramento to fight wildfires," 12 Oct. 2017

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.

See More

First Known Use of dark

Adjective

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

Noun

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

Verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dark

dark

adjective

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

dark

noun

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

the dark : 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

dark

adjective
\ ˈdärk \
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.

dark

noun

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on dark

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dark

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dark

Spanish Central: Translation of dark

Nglish: Translation of dark for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dark for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dark

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

WORD OF THE DAY

involving abstract or general statements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Liar, Liar Quiz

  • alt-5761dbe2ba986
  • Someone who pretends to be sick in order to avoid work is a:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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