\ 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 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


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 majority of the outages were in Clackamas County, where more than 10,700 people were still in the dark as of 6 a.m. Monday. oregonlive, "More than 21,000 remain without power in northwest Oregon 10 days after outages began," 22 Feb. 2021 Even some parent members of the Early Learning Center's governance board said they were left in the dark last week about specific reasons behind its sudden closure. Della Hasselle | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "Shuttered preschool to Metairie parents: Closure had nothing to do with the center's children," 8 Feb. 2021 Not only did the dark comedy crack the Globes’ Screenplay race, but, even more impressive, Fennell nabbed a berth in the Best Director category, ensuring a majority-female directing slate for the first time ever. Nate Jones, Vulture, "Oscar Futures: After Globe and SAG Noms, the Race Finally Gets Real," 5 Feb. 2021 But Bohnen, who is still relatively new to the industry, is excited to dive in to the whirlwind of molding intricately decorated truffles, and enrobing caramel and ganache in dark, milk and white chocolate continuously flowing from faucets. Sharyn Jackson, Star Tribune, "Old and new, Twin Cities chocolate shops speak the language of love," 5 Feb. 2021 In those dark, purpling skies that loom above the shimmering hills of Brook Farm, Wolcott gives us a vision not so much of a place that was but, in its best idea of itself, what might have been. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Chasing a painter’s long-lost rainbow at Brook Farm," 28 Jan. 2021 There aren’t many movies like Promising Young Woman, the dark comedy and thriller starring Carey Mulligan as the blonde empress of revenge. Morgan Baila, refinery29.com, "Promising Young Woman," 18 Jan. 2021 In early 2020, California beaches were even visited by a few glow-in-the-dark dolphins. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "Watch These Sea Lions Absolutely Tear Up the Waves in Southern California," 15 Jan. 2021 The disco revival of 2020 was a bright spot in an otherwise dark year, thanks to new releases from the likes of Dua Lipa, Kylie Minogue, Jessie Ware and Róisín Murphy. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "25 Things We'd Like to See Happen in 2021," 14 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Mendez Segura also was among the first to notice that the downtown skyline was ablaze in light while West and East Side neighborhoods were in the dark. Elaine Ayala, San Antonio Express-News, "Ayala: During winter storm, San Antonio activists showed up for the vulnerable," 23 Feb. 2021 With Miguel’s life in the balance, his family was completely in the dark. Marshall Allen, ProPublica, "“I Don’t Trust the People Above Me”: Riot Squad Cops Open Up About Disastrous Response to Capitol Insurrection," 23 Feb. 2021 About 85,000 households across Texas remain left in the dark. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "Here's how a week of frigid weather and catastrophe unfolded in Texas," 21 Feb. 2021 At times, the gap between demand and supply widened to about 30 gigawatts (just under half the state’s peak demand) as Texas grid operators scrambled to avoid damaging equipment that could have left the state in the dark for months. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "The collapse of its energy grid may make Texas the next solar hot spot," 21 Feb. 2021 After a 2011 cold snap left millions of Texans in the dark, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission urged the state to winterize its power plants with insulation, heat pipes and other measures. Arkansas Online, "PAUL KRUGMAN: Texas, the Land of Wind and Lies," 20 Feb. 2021 Many residents lost electricity this week after power outages throughout the state left millions of Texans in the dark. Washington Post, "Hotel housing Texans displaced by frigid weather goes up in flames after sprinkler system freezes," 20 Feb. 2021 By Tuesday, 45 gigawatts of power was offline, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, and nearly 3 million Texans were left in the dark and without heat on Wednesday. Fortune, "‘It’s a black eye for Texas’: Power outages hinder state’s image as business utopia," 20 Feb. 2021 As Texas shivers in the dark, there’s plenty for everybody to hate in this story. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "Boom, then Bust?," 20 Feb. 2021 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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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

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dark. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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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
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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More from Merriam-Webster on dark

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dark

Nglish: Translation of dark for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dark for Arabic Speakers

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