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

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

: to make dark
: to make less clear : obscure
the financial crisis darkened the future of the company
: taint, tarnish
darkened his reputation
: to cast a gloom over
: to make of darker color
darkener noun

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.
Recent Examples on the Web As totality approached the temperature dropped and the skies darkened. Elizabeth Gamillo, Discover Magazine, 16 Apr. 2024 As skies darkened Monday over North America during a rare solar eclipse, many people noticed bright dots — flickering spots that were reddish, pink and orange in hue — along the periphery of the moon and Sun. John Tufts, The Indianapolis Star, 9 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for darken 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'darken.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near darken

Cite this Entry

“Darken.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/darken. Accessed 20 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


dark·​en ˈdär-kən How to pronounce darken (audio)
darkened; darkening ˈdärk-(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce darken (audio)
: to make or grow dark or darker
the sky darkened
: to make or become gloomy or forbidding
her face darkened in anger
darkener noun

More from Merriam-Webster on darken

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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