\ ˈdärk How to pronounce dark (audio) \
darker; darkest

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 : intense in color, coloring, or pigmentation : not light or fair dark hair a dark complexion
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 plural a painter who uses a lot of darks
b darks plural : clothing that is dark in color 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

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 thicket of dark hair that trails behind her is perpetually slicked back in a long braid or ponytail that punctuates her visage, yet makes for a powerful profile. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, 16 Jan. 2022 In Mirabel’s round face, curly dark hair and soft freckles, Rodriguez saw their own face looking back at them. NBC News, 13 Jan. 2022 In fact, animals with less complex brains, such as flatworms and spiders, use cues like touch, light and dark, and chemical signatures to navigate, points out David Clark, a biologist at Alma College in Michigan. Manasee Wagh, Popular Mechanics, 11 Jan. 2022 My 20s' Perry then changes into a slick look with a brown mini dress and white boots, with her signature dark hair cascading down her back. Greta Bjornson, PEOPLE.com, 11 Jan. 2022 The result is a bittersweet meditation on the light and dark parts of life, told brightly and personally in Schulz’ careful prose. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland, 11 Jan. 2022 Eilish captioned a photo featuring her posing with her dark brown hair while wearing a black and white long-sleeve T-shirt. Starr Bowenbank, Billboard, 4 Jan. 2022 There was a male of average height, with dark curly hair and light skin, either Latino or white, standing outside on the driver's side. Tara Kavaler, The Arizona Republic, 3 Jan. 2022 Mathis looked at the scalp, still covered by mostly dark hair. New York Times, 29 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The only artificial light in the dark came after a 10-minute walk. Devin Kelly, Longreads, 19 Jan. 2022 Pension overseers should be bending over backwards to assure the public all is kosher, rather than keeping teachers and taxpayers in the dark. Edward Siedle, Forbes, 18 Jan. 2022 By late Monday morning, about 230,000 customers across the country were still in the dark, the utility tracking service said. NBC News, 17 Jan. 2022 Since Antar spoke with the S.E.C. about the Alibaba case, he, too, has been left in the dark. Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker, 17 Jan. 2022 Still, the Red Cross is largely in the dark as to the extent of the damage from the tsunami because communications are down. Stephen Wright, WSJ, 16 Jan. 2022 This is the novel as floating opera, in which connections remain below the surface and we are left to wander alone in the dark. David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times, 14 Jan. 2022 And Just Like That viewers have been surprised that Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) has been hooking up with Che Diaz (Sara Ramirez), who works with Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), with Steve kept entirely in the dark. Ryan Gajewski, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Jan. 2022 The half-dozen folks had convened to think through how to buy their Durango, Colorado, park from the private landlord – a move Mr. Egan and others deemed a shot in the dark. Sarah Matusek, The Christian Science Monitor, 10 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The transitions from light to dark in the matador’s face and stockings, for instance, is abrupt to the point of coarseness. Washington Post, 19 Jan. 2022 On Thursday afternoon, Forrest Smith was sitting in his Louisville home watching the daylight change from light to dark as smoke filled the air. Molly Bohannon, USA TODAY, 1 Jan. 2022 For guests who want to switch up drinks between courses or as the night evolves, Milano suggests that hosts serve drinks in progression, going from light to dark. Elva Ramirez, Forbes, 27 Oct. 2021 Again to the southeast after dark a now 83%-lit Moon will drift about 4º below Saturn. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 12 Sep. 2021 Despite governmental bans on skin lightening products and a growing global movement to embrace one’s natural beauty—from nappy hair (natural and chemical free) to dark skin—the covert business of lightening skin color thrives all the same. Kang-chun Cheng, Quartz, 11 Aug. 2021 The result leaves our kids less engaged and our recreation centers dark through much of the winter, and with limited hours throughout the summer. Barb Schlaefer, Star Tribune, 6 June 2021 Outside attorneys representing the company have said in recent motions to dismiss the lawsuits that FirstEnergy's actions regarding its contributions to dark money groups controlled by former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder were legal. Mark Gillispie, Star Tribune, 27 May 2021 It is formulated to cure everything from fine lines to dark circles to puffiness. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, 24 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for dark

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near dark



dark adaptation

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Statistics for dark

Last Updated

21 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dark. Accessed 28 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for dark



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
: 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on dark

Nglish: Translation of dark for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dark for Arabic Speakers


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