\ ˈdärk How to pronounce dark (audio) \
darker; darkest

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 : intense in color, coloring, or pigmentation : not light or fair dark hair a dark complexion
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 plural a painter who uses a lot of darks
b darks plural : clothing that is dark in color 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

Other Words from dark


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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective After the stage was changed over for about 20 minutes after Waxahatchee’s set, the house lights went dark. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, 14 May 2022 The trial in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia went dark this week for a pre-scheduled break but will resume Monday with Heard back on the witness stand. Rebecca Rosenberg, Fox News, 12 May 2022 The name originated during the period when the city was still governed by Mexico, apparently a reference to the dark-skinned inhabitants of the thoroughfare. Michael Luo, The New Yorker, 11 May 2022 The nearly 18 months that stages across the country went dark were also marked by uprisings for racial and social justice, for equity of access, for diversity onstage, backstage and in the audience. Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2022 The 2021-2022 season is the first since Broadway stages went dark for over a year after the start of the COVID pandemic. Hilary Lewis, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 May 2022 Solana went dark for seven hours over the weekend thanks to a rush of bot activity tracing back to an NFT minting program called Candy Machine. Declan Harty, Fortune, 5 May 2022 Communications from Azovstal briefly went dark on Wednesday, but on Thursday morning, fighters in the bunkers were again sending messages via social media platforms, promising not to surrender. New York Times, 5 May 2022 House spice keeps in an airtight container in a cool dark place up to 4 months. Adina Steiman, WSJ, 4 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Since Lexus only released this one photo, we're left in the dark about what the rest of the next-gen RX will look like as well as what features and powertrains will be offered. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, 18 May 2022 Fetterman kept the press and the public in the dark about his health for the better part of two days. Brian Stelter, CNN, 17 May 2022 Remember: My family is in the dark about our sunny getaway, so please don’t mention this article to them. Nevin Martell, Washington Post, 12 May 2022 As for that season 2 cliffhanger, Nick Mohammed (Nate Shelley) is also in the dark about what's to come for his character. Jacqueline Saguin, Good Housekeeping, 7 May 2022 How is abysmal record-keeping by the Ohio Health Department yet again leaving state residents in the dark about the current state of COVID cases statewide? Leila Atassi, cleveland, 18 Apr. 2022 Many older adults, however, are still in the dark about the metaverse or unpersuaded about its benefits for them. Next Avenue, Forbes, 15 Apr. 2022 For instance, a product can be rather ambiguously marketed as 95% natural, leaving the customer in the dark about its true composition. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 7 Apr. 2022 The formal tying-of-the-knot can’t come soon enough for executives, staff, creatives and talent at both companies, who also are still largely in the dark about potential structural changes, management shifts and strategic pivots. Jennifer Maas, Variety, 5 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As the distorted guitar sets in, the room switches to dark with glowing lights illuminating the performance. Izzy Colón, SPIN, 23 Mar. 2022 Say goodbye to dark under-eye circles with this YSL option. Rachel Dube, SELF, 7 Apr. 2022 This means better contrast and less bleed from light to dark. Parker Hall, Wired, 30 Mar. 2022 As the search went on Monday night for the body of James Brown, who was working alone deep underground at the Darby Fork mine when a roof collapsed, the coal miner's wife watched and waited, not leaving a church parking lot as dusk turned to dark. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, 22 Mar. 2022 Choose from half, single or double bag subscriptions every two or four weeks; as well their roast preference (light to dark or a variety) and grind type (whole bean or ground). Danielle Directo-meston, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 Feb. 2022 For the guy who’s been wanting to test-drive a new skincare routine, this five-piece gift set from Geologie is specifically formulated to address men’s skin concerns, from aging and acne to dark under eye circles. Danielle Directo-meston, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Jan. 2022 The transitions from light to dark in the matador’s face and stockings, for instance, is abrupt to the point of coarseness. Washington Post, 19 Jan. 2022 On Thursday afternoon, Forrest Smith was sitting in his Louisville home watching the daylight change from light to dark as smoke filled the air. Molly Bohannon, USA TODAY, 1 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of dark


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


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


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive 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

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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Dictionary Entries Near dark



dark adaptation

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Statistics for dark

Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dark. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for dark


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on dark

Nglish: Translation of dark for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dark for Arabic Speakers


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