\ˈdärk \

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



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 \ 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


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


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

Instead, this darker, bloodier version of Sabrina Spellman’s antics introduces a world in which the misconception that witchcraft, paganism, and Wiccan rituals are about devil worship is indulged to create a brewing battle for ultimate control. Kelsea Stahler, Teen Vogue, "The Resurgence of Witches in Pop Culture Like Sabrina, AHS "Coven," and "Charmed" Reflects Women in the Real World," 14 Nov. 2018 Rustic decor in and of itself tends to be heavier, darker, and less sparse, so the amalgamation of the two styles produces something light and open, but still very natural. Sienna Fantozzi, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need To Know About Rustic Design," 26 Oct. 2018 The air is crisp, the sky is dark, and the leaves rattle in the wind. Hannah Dylan Pasternak, SELF, "16 Classic Halloween Movies You Can Stream Right Now," 17 Oct. 2018 The red is slightly darker, and the cardboard bears more ridges. Joshua David Stein, Town & Country, "When a New Jordan is Released, This Sneaker Authenticator Is Hard at Work for Weeks," 17 Sep. 2018 Inside, the dark, serene vibe draws inspiration from a century-old lilac tree trunk that hangs in the entryway. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "This modern house shape shifts in Oregon’s high desert," 27 Aug. 2018 The staircase is huge in my memory, steep and dark, with walls that loom. Adam Cayton-holland, Good Housekeeping, "Watching My Little Sister Battle Depression Was Incredibly Difficult. Then Things Got Worse.," 20 Aug. 2018 Tattooed and lithe with short dark hair, Sanchez was among the newcomers handpicked by casting director Ashley Brokaw for a show that featured androgynous, gender fluid, and transgender models, many of whom had never walked before. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "How Spanish Model Miriam Sanchez Went From Studying Business to Walking Vuitton," 16 Nov. 2018 Dior's Diorshow, with its super fat brush and dark-as-night color, is as good as everyone says for real lashes that look like fakes. Lindsay Schallon, Glamour, "This Maybelline Mascara Is So Good, I Call It the Drugstore Diorshow," 16 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Most of the crashes occurred in the dark, and SUVs are playing a growing part in them, the study says. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Halloween is a scary night to be a pedestrian," 30 Oct. 2018 Over the next few years, movies may lose altogether the aspect of public solitude, of being alone together in a crowd, in the dark, marvelling as spectacle devolves upon the human face. Stephen Metcalf, The New Yorker, "How Superheroes Made Movie Stars Expendable," 19 May 2018 Antonio: Play tag in the dark, ride four-wheelers, play basketball and football. miamiherald, "Siblings have been in foster homes nearly five years; they've lived apart for three | Miami Herald," 17 May 2018 Residents are simply being made to wait, in the dark, for months on end. Mark Sappenfield, The Christian Science Monitor, "Finding the good beyond the crisis," 13 May 2018 Most baseball enthusiasts still don't think that's reason enough to yank a game off TV, leaving fans who don't have a social media presence — many of them elderly — in the dark, perhaps dusting off their radio dials to hear the play-by-play. Michael Mcgough, sacbee, "'Total joke': Why MLB's partnership with Facebook has Giants fans and beat writers mad | The Sacramento Bee," 8 May 2018 After weeks of spirited debate and blind shots in the dark, the first round of the NFL Draft has come and gone, and the New Orleans Saints did what many expected in trading up to pick Texas-San Antonio's Marcus Davenport. Clyde Verdin, NOLA.com, "The Saints got their guy. 'Dunc & Holder' ponder what's next?," 27 Apr. 2018 Robert remembers sitting in the dark, feeling anxious. Caroline Lester, The Atlantic, "What Happens When Your Bomb-Defusing Robot Becomes a Weapon," 26 Apr. 2018 Amazon kept many of the cities in the dark through much of the roughly 14-month selection process, frustrating some government officials. Shayndi Raice, WSJ, "How Amazon Picked HQ2 and Jilted 236 Cities," 14 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Heavy Metal Flea Market isn't so literal; the event begins with metal as its starting-off point and explore everything from monster-movie culture to clothing to dark mystical stuff. John Petkovic, cleveland.com, "Now That's Class and Beachland Ballroom to host music-themed flea markets," 7 Dec. 2017 Fun and dark all at once, the song is a feel-good revenge tune with powerful elements. Tamar Herman, Billboard, "20 K-Pop Songs for Your Halloween Playlist by BTS, BIGBANG, EXO & More," 31 Oct. 2017 Living humans come packaged in a wide range of hues — from pale and freckly in Ireland to dark brown in southern India, Australia and New Guinea. Carl Zimmer, New York Times, "Genes for Skin Color Rebut Dated Notions of Race, Researchers Say," 12 Oct. 2017 At McClellan, the air tankers work from 8 a.m. to dark if conditions allow. Hudson Sangree, sacbee, "Air tankers circle nonstop between Santa Rosa and Sacramento to fight wildfires," 12 Oct. 2017 So, when a draft letter suggesting a softening of his views began circulating among members of Congress this week, Mexicans expressed a range of reactions, from welcome relief to cool, wonky reason to dark mistrust. Kirk Semple And Paulina Villegas, New York Times, "Mexico Welcomes Possible U.S. Shift on Nafta, but Mistrust of Trump Persists," 31 Mar. 2017

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


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


see dark entry 1


see dark entry 1

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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)

the dark : 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 \
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dark

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dark

Spanish Central: Translation of dark

Nglish: Translation of dark for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dark for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dark

What made you want to look up dark? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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