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 Add chili powder and cook, stirring, until starting to darken, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Charlyne Mattox, Country Living, 24 May 2021 Chinese you tiao are delectable dough sticks whose surfaces darken to a deep bronze following a dunk in very, very hot oil. Joanna O'leary, Chron, 5 Apr. 2021 The veneers are soft and absorb a lot of the oil, which will darken the wood quite quickly. BostonGlobe.com, 16 May 2021 The program also comes as many new relevant technologies are on the verge of becoming viable, including electrochromic glass (which can darken automatically to reduce incoming sunlight) and flooring tiles that can gather electricity from footsteps. Time, 10 May 2021 Soot, smoke and dust in what was always a working chapel began to darken the once-vivid colors. New York Times, 5 Apr. 2021 This has four color covers and the translucent option as well to lighten or darken your set. Chris Hachey, BGR, 5 May 2021 Cook, stirring the ingredients at the center, gradually combining them with the vegetables until fully incorporated and the tomato paste begins to darken and stick to the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes. Star Tribune, 30 Apr. 2021 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, 22 Apr. 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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Statistics for darken

Last Updated

5 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Darken.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/darken. Accessed 15 Jun. 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.


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