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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from darken

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for darken



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Our moles may darken, our voices deepen (as Kristen Bell’s did while recording Frozen, requiring her to go back after pregnancy and rerecord parts of the soundtrack in her normal girlish tones). Dina Litovsky, Smithsonian Magazine, "The New Science of Motherhood," 22 Apr. 2021 Black tea production differs from green and white tea in that the black tea leaves oxidize for a longer period of time; oxidizing means that the tea leaves are exposed to air, allowing the leaves to darken and develop rich flavor. Ola Faleti, chicagotribune.com, "Is black tea good for you?," 18 Apr. 2021 The pink porch’s stained glass panels seemed to darken and weigh doen that room, however, so they were preserved but covered up. House Beautiful, "Inside an Iconic Church-Turned-Family Home That First Ran in House Beautiful in 1989," 8 Apr. 2021 Turn off the oven and prop open the door with the handle of a wooden spoon for 10 minutes; the surface of the cake will darken slightly during this time. BostonGlobe.com, "Make-ahead recipes for Easter brunch," 24 Mar. 2021 Remove pan from the heat and stir in the baking soda and ginger; the mixture will foam and darken. Star Tribune, "Recipe: Sticky Toffee-Date Cake," 19 Mar. 2021 An alloy of predominantly copper, with usually tin or other metals added, bronze is prone to oxidization that makes its surface darken and change over time. Daniel Bentley, Fortune, "3 bronze watches that deserve first place in your collection," 7 Feb. 2021 The Facebook version of the image has been altered to remove illuminating lights and darken the overall appearance of the scene. Mckenzie Sadeghi, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Altered 2014 image used to make false White House blackout claim," 4 Feb. 2021 The picture won't darken much, but the highlights may be a bit blown out. Whitson Gordon, Wired, "Why HDR Looks Too Dark on Your TV, and How to Fix It," 25 Dec. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of darken

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about darken

Time Traveler for darken

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for darken

Last Updated

30 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Darken.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/darken. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on darken

What made you want to look up darken? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!