\ 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 darkish (audio) \ adjective
darkly adverb
darkness noun

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 stage may be dark, but Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet and the New World Symphony are still offering playlists, videos, interviews and performances. Mary Lou Cruz, sun-sentinel.com, "Virtual community, entertainment events starting Nov 15," 13 Nov. 2020 Broadway may be dark for several months to come, but actors from four shuttered shows have been given the opportunity — a rare one during the coronavirus pandemic — to put on their costumes and perform. Julia Jacobs, New York Times, "Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Revives Broadway for a Day," 11 Nov. 2020 For the first time since World War II, Peacock Lane will be dark this holiday season. oregonlive, "Your 2020 Oregon holiday events guide: What’s happening and what’s not," 10 Nov. 2020 These Wayne Jacob's andouille sticks are dark as cigars, thick as the handle on a baseball bat, marbled within with white ribbons of fat and smoky enough to set off a fire alarm. Ian Mcnulty | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "On the ‘Andouille Trail,’ exploring a River Parishes obsession link by link," 9 Nov. 2020 This makes for extremely vivid colors and, best of all, shadowy black levels that are truly dark. Lee Neikirk, USA TODAY, "You can get a Vizio OLED TV for its lowest price ever for Black Friday 2020," 9 Nov. 2020 The next few months could be almost unbearably dark. Melody Schreiber, The New Republic, "Trump Is Still the President, and the Pandemic Is Getting Worse," 7 Nov. 2020 The challenge: Take a main level that was dark and broken up into several rooms and turn it into a gracious casual entertaining space with an open floor plan. Kerri Westenberg, Star Tribune, "'70s house in Edina gets open floor plan for casual living," 6 Nov. 2020 One-third is dark, making for a frigid planet with temperatures of minus 392 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 200 degrees Celsius. Ryan Prior, CNN, "This lava planet has 'rocky' weather and winds many times the speed of sound," 6 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Keeping everyone, including employees, in the dark helps prevent scalpers from dominating both the IRL and URL markets, where hundreds of the 30 series GPUs sell daily. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "Desperate Gamers Camp Out in the Pandemic for $700 GPUs," 13 Nov. 2020 The scientists found out that Europa's ice probably glows in the dark, and that glow may carry some information about what's present in the ice. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Europa probably glows in the dark, and that may tell us what’s in it," 10 Nov. 2020 One of Jupiter’s moons might be glowing in the dark. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, "Jupiter Might Have a Glow-in-the-Dark Moon," 10 Nov. 2020 Whereas the clicks and songs of marine mammals are well-documented, the identities of smaller deep-sea noisemakers are still shrouded in the dark. Sabrina Imbler, New York Times, "Could Listening to the Deep Sea Help Save It?," 10 Nov. 2020 Meanwhile, 20 inmates, family members and friends of inmates, and correctional officers representing five facilities said they’ve been left in the dark. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Football fan penalty, first pitch, charcoal treatment: News from around our 50 states," 10 Nov. 2020 But the other side might glow in the dark because of Jupiter’s radiation. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Radiation Might Make Jupiter’s Salty, Icy Moon Europa Glow," 10 Nov. 2020 This shot of the steps captures an image in which some locations are lit (like the fountain) and the buildings are in the dark. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "The iPhone 12 Mini is what all small phones should be: tiny and mighty," 9 Nov. 2020 Jupiter might have its own little night light, in the form of an icy moon that glows in the dark. Maya Wei-haas, National Geographic, "One of Jupiter's icy moons may glow in the dark," 9 Nov. 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

16 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dark. Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

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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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