\ ˈdärk How to pronounce dark (audio) \

Definition of dark

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : devoid or partially devoid of light : not receiving, reflecting, transmitting, or radiating light a dark room
b : transmitting only a portion of light dark glasses
2a : wholly or partially black dark clothing
b of a color : of low or very low lightness dark blue
c : being less light in color than other substances of the same kind dark rum
3a : arising from or showing evil traits or desires : evil the dark powers that lead to war
b : dismal, gloomy had a dark view of the future
c : lacking knowledge or culture : unenlightened a dark period in history
d : relating to grim or depressing circumstances dark humor
4a : not clear to the understanding
b : not known or explored because of remoteness the darkest reaches of the continent
5 : not fair in complexion : swarthy dark skin
6 : secret kept his plans dark
7 : possessing depth and richness a dark voice
8 : closed to the public the theater is dark in the summer



Definition of dark (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : a place or time of little or no light : night, nightfall get home before dark
b : absence of light : darkness afraid of the dark
2a : a color of low or very low lightness : a dark or deep color usually plurala painter who uses a lot of darks
b darks plural : clothing that is dark colored separated the darks and the lights before starting the laundry
in the dark
1 : in secrecy most of his dealings were done in the dark
2 : in ignorance kept the public in the dark about the agreement
go dark
1 : to become dark The room suddenly went dark.
2a : to stop operating or functioning : to shut down Most Salt Lake City restaurants go dark on Sundays …— Kurt Repanshek Andy Beal was one of 220 million subscribers to Skype … who saw the service go dark on Aug. 16.— Stephen Baker In the end, the heart stops, the cells die, the neurons go dark— Joshua Ferris
b communications : to stop broadcasting or transmitting : to go off-line The roosters were just beginning to crow in that lost hour before dawn when Lt. Col. Steve Russell of the Army's 4th Infantry Division ordered his men to "go dark" and roll their Humvees up to the edge of a lone farmhouse here.— William Booth


darked; darking; darks

Definition of dark (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

obsolete : to grow dark (see dark entry 1)

transitive verb

: to make dark

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Other Words from dark


darkish \ ˈdär-​kish How to pronounce darkish (audio) \ adjective
darkly adverb
darkness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for dark


obscure, dark, vague, enigmatic, cryptic, ambiguous, equivocal mean not clearly understandable. obscure implies a hiding or veiling of meaning through some inadequacy of expression or withholding of full knowledge. obscure poems dark implies an imperfect or clouded revelation often with ominous or sinister suggestion. muttered dark hints of revenge vague implies a lack of clear formulation due to inadequate conception or consideration. a vague sense of obligation enigmatic stresses a puzzling, mystifying quality. enigmatic occult writings cryptic implies a purposely concealed meaning. cryptic hints of hidden treasure ambiguous applies to language capable of more than one interpretation. an ambiguous directive equivocal applies to language left open to differing interpretations with the intention of deceiving or evading. moral precepts with equivocal phrasing

Examples of dark in a Sentence

Adjective She sat in the dark room alone. Soon it will be dark enough to see the stars. It was a dark and stormy night. Dark clouds of smoke were coming from the windows. She's wearing a dark suit to the interview. a man wearing dark clothing You've got dark circles under your eyes this morning. dark spots on the skin Noun He's 12 years old and still afraid of the dark. The burglars hid in the dark between the two buildings. He bought the kids special rings that glow in the dark. We'd better get home before dark. They waited until after dark to begin their escape. He uses lots of darks in his decorating. Wash the lights and the darks separately.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The Batman Uslan wanted to see on screen would take a dark and mysterious approach to fighting crime, not a comedic one. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "How this IU alum got a producer credit on every modern Batman movie (even 'Joker')," 9 Feb. 2020 Fortunately the show hits its stride near the end of Season 1, when the timelines converge and the tone becomes darker and more serious. Geek's Guide To The Galaxy, WIRED, "‘The Witcher’ Might Get Better in Season 2," 8 Feb. 2020 Victoria was a dark, ethereal beauty, and almost spookily serious. John Strausbaugh, National Review, "The Scandalous and Pioneering Victoria Woodhull," 8 Feb. 2020 The fairly shocking result of a recent presidential election only raises the temperature on this existential angst (the unnamed winner casts a long shadow over this often-dark book). Emily Bobrow, WSJ, "‘Weather’ Review: Happy Thoughts?," 7 Feb. 2020 The Bench Lands is packed with aromas and flavors of dark, dark cherries, blueberry-lemon curd and a nice cup of Darjeeling black tea. oregonlive, "6 Oregon pinot noirs you can buy for $20 or less," 6 Feb. 2020 Its visual impact comes from unexpected combinations: hard/soft; light/dark; masculine/feminine. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Did a 1991 Vogue Shoot Just Come to Life at the Super Bowl?," 3 Feb. 2020 With the help of GPS and digital processing, the machine blows air to gently bend the grass away or towards you to make up the dark and light contrast, according to Davis. Alicia Lee, CNN, "A California couple used a lawn mower and GPS to create this giant grass mural of Kobe Bryant," 30 Jan. 2020 In the beginning, before the microwaves left their source, the universe was a nearly featureless fluid made of dark and visible matter. Quanta Magazine, "How Ancient Light Reveals the Universe’s Contents," 28 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Don’t keep the Hillcrest community, or me, in the dark! Maria Shine Stewart, cleveland, "They make it look so easy: Sun Messages," 10 Feb. 2020 After a night of searching for nectar, mother bats return to the roost to feed their babies using what National Geographic explorer Begoña Iñarritu describes as a multi-sensory process to seek out and identify their babies in the dark. National Geographic, "Lesser long-nosed bat," 8 Feb. 2020 Deer are most active at sunrise and sunset, so hunting them involves being in the woods in the dark. New York Times, "Deer Overpopulation Meets Its Match: Women Who Hunt," 6 Feb. 2020 As occurs in real barnyards, the rats were never seen outside of their enclosed nests during daylight hours, though video recordings showed them cavorting around the room, bathing in the water pool and harassing the ducks in the dark. Alan Rudolph, The Conversation, "Re-creating live-animal markets in the lab lets researchers see how pathogens like coronavirus jump species," 6 Feb. 2020 The full-size blaze orange handle will be easy to hang on to even with wet slippery hands and has a reflective strip on the side to quickly locate it in the dark. Matt Foster, Outdoor Life, "The Best Knives of SHOT Show 2020," 31 Jan. 2020 The [Chinese Communist Party] is once again keeping the world in the dark about a deadly outbreak. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "Trump thanks Xi Jinping for ‘efforts and transparency’ in fight to contain coronavirus," 24 Jan. 2020 In fact, the show's producers have come up with an intricate strategy to keep Canon and the judges in the dark throughout the filming process. Laura Hanrahan, Woman's Day, "Ken Jeong Reveals How 'The Masked Singer' Contestants Hide Their Identities From the Judges," 21 Jan. 2020 Hometown store owners said they are being kept in the dark about the company’s strategy and, in some cases, receiving misleading information. Suzanne Kapner, WSJ, "Sears Woes Hit Hometown Stores," 20 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The plants can be a bit variable, having fern-like leaves of light to dark green color. Tom Maccubbin, orlandosentinel.com, "Trim Knock Out roses when most flowers have declined," 29 June 2019 Our unit members are taking their sites dark today to show management how important these issues are to us. Paul Farhi, Washington Post, "Vox Media employees walk off the job in day-long effort to win new union contract," 7 June 2019 Pick a champagne color for fair skin or gold for olive to dark skin tones,then swipe a little along the entire length of your cheekbones. Paige Stables, Good Housekeeping, "9 Sneaky Reasons Why Your Skin Looks Dull," 12 Oct. 2017 Each image has 28×28=784 input values, each a real number between zero and one representing how light or dark a pixel is. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "How computers got shockingly good at recognizing images," 18 Dec. 2018 One of the Green Berets, a weapons specialist, pulled aside the blanket and revealed a hole, perhaps 5 feet high and 3 feet wide, leading into a tunnel carved deep and dark into the hillside. Michael M. Phillips, WSJ, "‘I Think I’ve Been Shot’: Nighttime Raid in Afghanistan Reveals New U.S. Strategy," 5 Dec. 2018 The truth is Filipino people run the gamut from light skin to dark skin and everything in between. Jessica Andrews, Teen Vogue, "Kelsey Merritt on Making History as the First Filipino Model at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show," 8 Nov. 2018 His background is a bit more freewheeling, but also dark: his father, a schoolteacher, is kind and supportive, while his mother, who suffered a traumatic brain injury years before, has a penchant for shedding her clothes in public. refinery29.com, "On Chesil Beach Review: Can You Have Love Without Sex?," 16 May 2018 Full Coverage Concealer, $5, available in nine shades that match light to dark skin tones, plus three color-correcting hues. Brooke Shunatona, Cosmopolitan, "The 30 Best Concealers That Will Completely Cover Your Acne," 22 Mar. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dark.' 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 dark


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for dark

Adjective, Noun, and Verb

Middle English derk, from Old English deorc; akin to Old High German tarchannen to hide

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Learn More about dark

Time Traveler for dark

Time Traveler

The first known use of dark was before the 12th century

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Statistics for dark

Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dark. Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for dark

How to pronounce dark (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dark

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having very little or no light
: not light in color : of a color that is closer to black than white
of a color : having more black than white : not light



English Language Learners Definition of dark (Entry 2 of 2)

: a state in which no light can be seen
: a place where little or no light can be seen
: the time of day when night begins : the time when the sky becomes dark for the night
\ ˈdärk How to pronounce dark (audio) \
darker; darkest

Kids Definition of dark

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : without light or without much light a dark closet
2 : not light in color My dog has a dark coat.
3 : not bright and cheerful : gloomy Don't look on the dark side of things.
4 : arising from or characterized by evil The villain revealed his dark side.



Kids Definition of dark (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : absence of light : darkness I'm not afraid of the dark.
2 : a place or time of little or no light We got home before dark.

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More from Merriam-Webster on dark

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dark

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dark

Spanish Central: Translation of dark

Nglish: Translation of dark for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dark for Arabic Speakers

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