\ 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective With dramatic smoky eyes, and winged liner sharp enough to make your head turn, the dark side of fairycore certainly had a presence on the red carpet. Pema Bakshi, refinery29.com, 5 May 2022 The newest Star Wars show begin 10 years after the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith where Obi-Wan Kenobi faced the downfall of his Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side and became Darth Vader. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 4 May 2022 Obi-Wan Kenobi outruns bounty hunters and aims to redeem himself after losing Anakin Skywalker to the dark side in the new trailer for the upcoming Disney+ limited series, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 4 May 2022 Her heightened sense of taste and smell comes with an upside and a dark side. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, 4 May 2022 Yet there is a dark side to Singapore — a nastiness, at least in the minds of some of us. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 4 May 2022 The images embodied the comic dark side of a young child’s obsessional devotion to a beloved object: When a new plaything appears, the object may be ruthlessly discarded. New York Times, 26 Apr. 2022 Mathilda is only 12 years old, but is already familiar with the dark side of life: her abusive father stores drugs for corrupt police officers, and her mother neglects her. Travis Bean, Forbes, 23 Apr. 2022 What's more, every possible solution has a dark side, too. Joel Mathis, The Week, 20 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Vaughn made a derogatory remark suggesting that if the lights were shut off in Ray’s office, he wouldn’t be seen in the dark, according to the suit. oregonlive, 6 May 2022 There in the dark, a semblance of day-to-day life took shape. Michael Schwirtz, New York Times, 3 May 2022 In the quiet dark of a March morning in 1967, Hencher had a vision that left him haunted and upset: A passenger jet was going to crash. Brandy Schillace, WSJ, 29 Apr. 2022 The storms left more than 13,000 homes and businesses in the dark in Alabama and flash flooding was reported south of Birmingham, where heavy rains that left downtown streets underwater were blamed for one death Wednesday. Fox News, 18 Mar. 2022 Once enacted, the change proved unpopular, as children disliked going to school in the dark in the mornings, and President Ford swiftly reversed course upon taking office. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, 15 Mar. 2022 Over 50,000 customers are in the dark in Texas Thursday morning as a winter storm pummels the state with snow and ice. Emily Shapiro, ABC News, 3 Feb. 2022 For months last year, as local and state authorities negotiated in secret with Rivian, residents were kept in the dark in this largely rural area about 45 miles east of Atlanta. Andy Peters, ajc, 22 Jan. 2022 As of Monday morning, more than 125,000 customers were in the dark in Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and West Virginia, according to the website PowerOutages.us. CBS News, 17 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As the distorted guitar sets in, the room switches to dark with glowing lights illuminating the performance. Izzy Colón, SPIN, 23 Mar. 2022 Say goodbye to dark under-eye circles with this YSL option. Rachel Dube, SELF, 7 Apr. 2022 This means better contrast and less bleed from light to dark. Parker Hall, Wired, 30 Mar. 2022 As the search went on Monday night for the body of James Brown, who was working alone deep underground at the Darby Fork mine when a roof collapsed, the coal miner's wife watched and waited, not leaving a church parking lot as dusk turned to dark. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, 22 Mar. 2022 Choose from half, single or double bag subscriptions every two or four weeks; as well their roast preference (light to dark or a variety) and grind type (whole bean or ground). Danielle Directo-meston, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 Feb. 2022 For the guy who’s been wanting to test-drive a new skincare routine, this five-piece gift set from Geologie is specifically formulated to address men’s skin concerns, from aging and acne to dark under eye circles. Danielle Directo-meston, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Jan. 2022 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 See More

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.

First Known Use of dark


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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive 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

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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Dictionary Entries Near dark



dark adaptation

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Statistics for dark

Last Updated

9 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dark. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for dark


\ 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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