dark·​en | \ ˈdär-kən How to pronounce darken (audio) \
darkened; darkening\ ˈdär-​kə-​niŋ How to pronounce darken (audio) \

Definition of darken

intransitive verb

1 : to grow dark : become obscured the skies were darkening
2 : to become gloomy his mood darkened

transitive verb

1 : to make dark
2 : to make less clear : obscure the financial crisis darkened the future of the company
3 : taint, tarnish darkened his reputation
4 : to cast a gloom over
5 : to make of darker color

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Other Words from darken

darkener \ ˈdär-​kə-​nər How to pronounce darken (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for darken



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Examples of darken in a Sentence

The sky darkened and it started to rain. Her face darkens to a deep red when she gets angry. The wood will darken as it ages. The bad news darkened his mood. The last days of her life were darkened by illness. His mood darkened after he heard the bad news.
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Recent Examples on the Web Residents watched the clouds darken and plump just a week after squalls of rain soaked the low-lying parish and lifted the Bayou Vermilion to flood stage. New York Times, 19 May 2021 Once exposed to air the flesh begins to oxidize and will darken. Sue Selasky, Detroit Free Press, 1 Aug. 2021 The differences lie in how much the leaves of the camellia sinensis have been oxidized, a process that involves leaving the tea leaves in air temperature to dry and darken, according to artfultea.com. Sudiksha Kochi, USA TODAY, 19 June 2021 Over the course of several hours, the cicadas’ bodies harden and darken. Rebecca Katzman, Time, 12 May 2021 Look out for the next eclipse visible from Baltimore — a partial lunar eclipse Nov. 19, when the Earth’s shadow will darken part of the moon. Christine Condon, baltimoresun.com, 10 June 2021 Here’s a funereal thought to darken your Monday: The United States is not going to address its spending crisis. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 30 July 2021 If the skies were to darken, seas swell, and economies crumble, where would be the best place to ride out global civilizational collapse? BostonGlobe.com, 29 July 2021 My view of humanity and destiny is beginning to darken. New York Times, 9 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'darken.' 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 darken

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

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Time Traveler for darken

Time Traveler

The first known use of darken was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near darken

dark current


dark energy

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Statistics for darken

Last Updated

9 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Darken.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/darken. Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for darken



English Language Learners Definition of darken

: to make (something) dark or to become dark or darker in color
: to make (something) less happy or to become less happy


dark·​en | \ ˈdär-kən How to pronounce darken (audio) \
darkened; darkening

Kids Definition of darken

1 : to make or grow dark or darker … in three months the long Arctic night that lasted for sixty-six days would darken the top of the world.— Jean Craighead George, Julie of the Wolves
2 : to make or become gloomy Her mood darkened with the news.

More from Merriam-Webster on darken

Nglish: Translation of darken for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of darken for Arabic Speakers


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