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 But in the worst setback in a season darkened by three last-second losses, no blame from the 27-23 defeat at U.S. Bank Stadium can be placed on Shelby Harris and the defensive front. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Shelby Harris goes off for career day against Vikings, with three sacks and a forced fumble in Broncos’ loss," 17 Nov. 2019 And at a news conference, Chairman Jerome Powell suggested that the Fed will now pause unless the economic picture darkens. Christopher Rugaber, chicagotribune.com, "Federal Reserve cuts interest rates again, but hints it may be last move of 2019," 30 Oct. 2019 The room's curtains didn't do much to darken the bright afternoon light, despite which, the image was impressively bright and clear. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "4K projector turns any wall into theater-quality screen from inches away," 26 Oct. 2019 Pale gold Saturn is visible low in the southeast during evening twilight after the skies darken. Arnold Pearlstein, sun-sentinel.com, "The Stars This Week: Sept. 22-28," 22 Sep. 2019 The photo is in black and white, and Trudeau’s skin, including his face, neck, and hands, have been visibly darkened. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Justin Trudeau Is Wrapped Up in Three Separate Brown- and Blackface Scandals," 19 Sep. 2019 Or pack slices in sugar, treating with an anti-darkening agent first. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "Massively popular peach truck coming back to metro Detroit: Where to find it," 18 July 2019 The breeze picks up and sky darkens making the tree canopy overhead and surrounding forest look rather foreboding. Sarah Sekula, USA TODAY, "Clear kayak tours and otter-spotting in Florida offer an antidote to amusement parks," 9 July 2019 In a more recent example, the show infamously tapped Fred Armisen — who is of Venezuelan, German and Korean descent — to play President Barack Obama, darkening the comedian’s skin for the role. Bethonie Butler, Washington Post, "‘This means war’: Comedians criticize SNL for firing Shane Gillis over racist language," 17 Sep. 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

24 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Darken.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/darkens. Accessed 7 December 2019.

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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

Comments on darken

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