\ 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 The satirical dark comedy won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. Zack Sharf, Variety, 9 Aug. 2022 The premise evokes stories like Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers On A Train or the cult dark comedy film Heathers, while the trailer’s aesthetics call to mind recent movies like Promising Young Woman and Ingrid Goes West. Hilton Dresden, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Aug. 2022 Grow lights can be used for houseplants that need bright light, which is not always available in every home (or in any home during the dark days of winter). Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 8 Aug. 2022 There have been so many dark days, so many times when hope was lost. Christine Pelisek, Peoplemag, 4 Aug. 2022 If and when those dark days do arrive, don’t be surprised to see 2022 go down in history as the year supercars enjoyed their brightest moment in the sun. Basemwasef, Robb Report, 3 Aug. 2022 Apple hasn’t revealed that much about Bad Sisters, billed as a dark comedy about five sisters deeply affected by their parents’ death years before. Keith Phipps, Rolling Stone, 2 Aug. 2022 From the producers of Stranger Things, this coming-of-age dark comedy is like falling in love with Millie Bobby Brown's character, Eleven, all over again. Chaise Sanders, Country Living, 27 July 2022 Low-key newlyweds Lena Dunham and Luis Felber stepped out together for the premiere of Dunham's new dark comedy Sharp Stick in Los Angeles on July 25. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, 26 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The silence has prompted leading Republicans to demand an explanation into the extraordinary search—no president’s home has ever been the subject of an FBI raid—and left the public in the dark about what is the official version of events. Jan Wolfe, WSJ, 10 Aug. 2022 The news surprised legislators; House Speaker Ronald Mariano even accused Baker of keeping them in the dark about its likelihood for months, a charge that Baker aides denied. Matt Stout, BostonGlobe.com, 5 Aug. 2022 Every day, California is inflicting the same type of treatment on incarcerated people that Ramos and McCarthy survived and that most of us on the outside are completely in the dark about. Anita Chabria, Los Angeles Times, 2 Aug. 2022 International creditors had complained earlier this year that they had been left completely in the dark about the companies intentions. Laura He, CNN, 1 Aug. 2022 The education secretary said that the left, including the Biden administration, is trying to keep parents in the dark about the progressive agenda in schools. Hannah Grossman, Fox News, 1 Aug. 2022 The campers, who were wrapping up a Sunday-to-Friday stint, were evacuated to nearby Little Bear Park and largely kept in the dark about the reason for the evacuation, Sallak added. David K. Li, NBC News, 22 July 2022 Employees shouldn’t be kept in the dark about how the company is approaching these challenges. Oshrat Binyamin, Forbes, 19 July 2022 The tablets were being sold for as low as $35 per piece, but government spokesperson Cyrus Oguna told a local news site that the state was in the dark about the crime but promised an investigation would be done. Faustine Ngila, Quartz, 12 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Chard: Chard can be light to dark green, with stems in colors from white to pink to orange to red. Sheena Chihak, Better Homes & Gardens, 29 July 2022 Imagine the room at noon, with maximum sunlight pouring in—where does the light fall and where would dark furniture or fixtures be most visible? Nafeesah Allen, Better Homes & Gardens, 25 July 2022 The power of light turning to dark and then light again. Terry Pluto, cleveland, 23 July 2022 From strawberry blonde and pastels to dark sultry red, there's no shortage of options. Allure, 20 Apr. 2022 From dinnertime to dark every Wednesday in Livonia, enjoy a car show with food and music. Layla Mcmurtrie, Detroit Free Press, 6 June 2022 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 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

13 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dark. Accessed 17 Aug. 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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