\ 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 plural a 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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The announcement comes more than a year after Broadway went dark on March 12, 2020, a day after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic. CBS News, "Broadway can reopen at 100% capacity on September 14, New York Governor Cuomo says," 5 May 2021 Rx Drugs debuted with a full-length album in 2016, then went dark. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Eight top Milwaukee songs and albums for May: Trixie Mattel, WebsterX, Big Mother Gig, Coach Flambeau and more," 30 Apr. 2021 For a short while in March 2020, the Candidates seemed to be the last major competition happening anywhere on the planet after the rest of the sports world went dark. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "Chess Grandmasters Obsess Over Gambits, Endgames—and Chairs," 27 Apr. 2021 Thirteen months ago, San Diego’s live theater stages went dark. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Broadway San Diego announces return to touring theater shows in November," 26 Apr. 2021 Grumpy Goat went dark after the operator opted out of its contract during pandemic, but a new deal for food and beverage service with Crane Golf Inc., based in St. Charles, has been approved by the Elgin City Council. Gloria Casas, chicagotribune.com, "New operator opens restaurant at Elgin’s Bowes Creek golf course and plans to reopen the Grumpy Goat at The Highlands," 23 Apr. 2021 Las Vegas strip clubs that went dark when Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered casinos, clubs and nonessential businesses closed more than a year ago can reopen May 1 at 80% and under strict social distancing guidelines. Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY, "Michigan cases fall 12.5% in the past week; half of Colorado adults vaccinated, governor says: Live COVID-19 updates," 23 Apr. 2021 Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco singled with one out in the top of the fifth inning against A’s starter Jesús Luzardo just before the bank of lights above Mount Davis in left-center field went dark. Matt Kawahara, San Francisco Chronicle, "A's-Twins game delayed by lighting outage," 20 Apr. 2021 Finally, a single painter decorates the eyes and applies several layers of dark paint on the suit for texture and contrast. Paige Reddinger, Robb Report, "Black Panther Stars in a New Watch Collab Between Marvel and Audemars Piguet," 10 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With big smiles on their pale faces, the 15 participants exited the Lombrives cave to a round of applause and basked in the light of day while wearing special glasses to protect their eyes after so long in the dark. Renata Brito, Star Tribune, "Out of the cave: French isolation study ends after 40 days," 24 Apr. 2021 With big smiles on their pale faces, the 15 left their voluntary isolation in the Lombrives cave to a round of applause and basked in the light while wearing special glasses to protect their eyes after so long in the dark. Renata Brito, BostonGlobe.com, "Out of the cave: French isolation study ends after 40 days," 24 Apr. 2021 With movie theaters shuttered and many blockbusters put on hold, the COVID-19 pandemic left the big screen and big movies in the dark. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Why our pandemic Academy Awards are winning already," 23 Apr. 2021 The outage began at 8:35 p.m. and was expected to keep customers in the dark until 11:15 p.m., according to PG&E’s online outage map. Nora Mishanec, San Francisco Chronicle, "Thousands in the dark in S.F. after PG&E power outage," 22 Apr. 2021 Dad’s saucer spent the rest of its days down in our basement, where my sisters and I played Martians and Earthlings, preferably in the dark. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Essential California: Local drought emergencies," 22 Apr. 2021 Schlesinger developed the luminescent concrete for the piece, which glows in the dark. Deborah Martin, San Antonio Express-News, "Guide: 9 outdoor art gems to see along the River Walk's Museum Reach," 21 Apr. 2021 Vice presidents need to have complete access, Carter argued, pointing to the danger of Harry Truman being kept in the dark by FDR about the atomic bomb. Kate Andersen Brower, CNN, "How Walter Mondale revolutionized the vice presidency," 20 Apr. 2021 Counting sheep, tossing and turning in the dark is not uncommon. Bianca Salonga, Forbes, "Reasons Why CBN Or Cannabinol Is A Safe And Effective Hero Ingredient To Holistic Natural Sleep Aids," 20 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Blue spans the spectrum, from light on the ceiling to dark on the sofa. Monika Eyers, Better Homes & Gardens, "How to Choose the Right Colors for Your Home, According to an Interior Designer," 15 Apr. 2021 Easter also earned a first place award in the Visual Arts/Architecture Feature category for her article, Slavery documents from Southern saltmakers bring light to dark history. Los Angeles Times, "L.A. Times Wins 36 Awards in L.A. Press Club’s National Arts and Entertainment Contest," 14 Apr. 2021 Politico Florida tied the three candidates to dark money from two political committees that had sent hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of attack fliers to voters during the campaign. New York Times, "How a Sham Candidate Helped Flip a Florida Election," 19 Mar. 2021 The photographs that came out of that shoot show a stunning array of skin tones, from light to dark like a rainbow of brown skin. Susan Dunne, courant.com, "The Melanin Project showcases the beauty of Black skin while working to combat colorism," 13 Nov. 2020 San Francisco residents awoke Wednesday to dark orange skies clouded with smoke that had blown in from wildfires burning in national forests across California and Oregon. NBC News, "See before and after photos of San Francisco Bay Area shrouded in smoke," 10 Sep. 2020 As twilight transitions to dark, the bats and owls come out to feed. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Faces of unemployment: This Labor Day, 10 San Diegans tell us about unemployed life in the time of COVID," 6 Sep. 2020 Black tomato cultivars are those with fruit that have deep burgundy to dark reddish brown to black skin when ripe — the flesh is also generally darkly pigmented. Dan Gill, NOLA.com, "Dan Gill's mailbox: Leggy plants, black tomatoes and building a better raised garden," 19 Aug. 2020 The facility is open from 8 a.m. to dark daily during the summer and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily in the winter. Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'A golfer's playground': New Berlin practice facility features tech driving range, playing holes, and indoor simulators," 13 Aug. 2020

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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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

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dark. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for dark



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

Nglish: Translation of dark for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dark for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dark

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