dark·​en | \ ˈdär-kən How to pronounce darken (audio) \
darkened; darkening\ ˈdär-​kə-​niŋ How to pronounce darkening (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 darkener (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 Kittle’s mood, of course, darkened after the Chiefs outscored the 49ers 21-0 in the fourth quarter. Eric Branch, SFChronicle.com, "49ers’ George Kittle the Mic’d Up star of Super Bowl LIV," 7 Feb. 2020 The lights darkened in the arena save for a purple spotlight on two Lakers jerseys bearing Bryant’s numbers of 8 and 24 hanging above. NBC News, "Lakers honor late NBA legend Kobe Bryant in emotional tribute," 1 Feb. 2020 The Cornea Solar Switch, $450, solves that by automatically adjusting the tint of the Zeiss lens based on light conditions, darkening as the sun pops out and lightening as the skies dim. Louis Mazzante, Popular Mechanics, "The Most Exciting New Winter Gear and Apparel from Outdoor Retailer 2020," 31 Jan. 2020 Snow reduces light penetration on the ice, and a thick blanket of snow can dramatically darken the water column. Outdoor Life, "3 Killer Ice Fishing Tactics For Mid-Winter Pike, Walleyes, and Panfish," 17 Jan. 2020 On Wednesday, the fallout from that deal wiped out about 13% of the bank’s 2019 profits and darkened otherwise strong results. Liz Hoffman, WSJ, "Goldman Profit Falls as Bank Braces for 1MDB Fine," 15 Jan. 2020 The smoke is having a dramatic impact on New Zealand, causing severe air quality issues across the county and visibly darkening mountaintop snow. Fox News, "Australia fires: NASA warns that smoke from bushfires will travel around the world," 15 Jan. 2020 New Zealand is currently receiving the brunt of this smoke, which is causing severe air quality issues and even darkening snow on the country's mountaintops. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Smoke from Australian wildfires will circle the entire world, NASA says," 14 Jan. 2020 The space gradually darkens as, one by one, the lights are extinguished during the course of the show. The Economist, "Christian Boltanski’s search for life after death," 17 Dec. 2019

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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Statistics for darken

Last Updated

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Darken.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/darken. Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for darken


How to pronounce darken (audio)

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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on darken

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for darken

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with darken

Spanish Central: Translation of darken

Nglish: Translation of darken for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of darken for Arabic Speakers

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