\ 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 There are hundreds of unelected boards and commissions that exist in a dark corner of state government — often escaping accountability and scrutiny. Maria Polletta, azcentral, "Full text: Arizona Gov. Ducey's 2020 State of the State speech," 13 Jan. 2020 Last week, the internet went dark for Yemen and its 28 million citizens. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "Cut Undersea Cable Plunges Yemen Into Days-Long Internet Outage," 13 Jan. 2020 Garoppolo huddled into a dark corner of the auditorium and allowed Buckner to have his moment in the spotlight. Rusty Simmons, SFChronicle.com, "49ers’ Garoppolo seldom airs it out in 1st playoff start, but savors pancake," 11 Jan. 2020 The man’s body had been thrown into the back, dark corner of his yard, discovered by a police officer later. Mike Argento, USA TODAY, "'It sounded like a bomb': Helicopter crashes into man's yard, killing pilot and passenger," 10 Jan. 2020 Without legislative action, the simulcasts will go dark at the three betting parlors in the state: the Plainridge harness track in Plainville, Suffolk Downs in East Boston, and Raynham Park. Jon Chesto, BostonGlobe.com, "Lawmakers look to extend simulcast rights again, as broader debate looms," 10 Jan. 2020 In the air shortly after midnight, Resilard and Wilson watched as the tanker went dark. Robert Faturechi, ProPublica, "Faulty Equipment, Lapsed Training, Repeated Warnings: How a Preventable Disaster Killed Six Marines," 2 Jan. 2020 Earlier this month, Lovato went dark on social media while teasing the release of her new music. Robyn Merrett, PEOPLE.com, "Demi Lovato Gets New Tattoo That Represents 'A Birth of the Spirit' After Austin Wilson Split," 25 Dec. 2019 At the end of the performance, the stage went dark, and the Styles puppet returned--this time with Harry himself as the puppet master. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Harry Styles & Spotify Introduce 'Fine Line' to Lucky Los Angeles Fans by Transporting Them to Eroda," 12 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Light snow will likely start up in Denver on Friday night, likely after dark. Chris Bianchi, The Denver Post, "Denver weather: What to expect with this weekend’s snow," 26 Dec. 2019 Nationwide last year, 74% of pedestrian deaths happened outside intersections and 76% occurred after dark. Jesse Leavenworth, courant.com, "State-funded crackdown on jaywalking in Hartford, East Hartford, New Britain and four other cities," 7 Dec. 2019 Coast Guard rescuers searched for the boy for nearly five hours Saturday afternoon, calling off their efforts after dark. oregonlive, "Girl, 7, who died on Oregon coast was a Portland elementary student; district providing counseling for classmates," 13 Jan. 2020 More than three-quarters of pedestrians were killed after dark, and a similar percentage were killed while crossing a road, but Americans' antisocial love for big SUVs needs reckoning with, too. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "This tech could mean your phone stops you from getting killed by a car," 8 Jan. 2020 What remained unclear was why the family was on such a dangerous stretch of highway after dark. CBS News, "American family attacked in Mexico just south of Texas; 13-year-old killed," 6 Jan. 2020 Second, eelpout are aggressive beneath the ice, especially after dark. Dr. Jason Halfen, Outdoor Life, "5 Fish You Might Not Have Caught Through The Ice But Should," 2 Jan. 2020 Image The killing of Ms. Majors in Morningside Park, not far from the Barnard campus, on Dec. 11 evoked a more dangerous era of 30 years ago, when the park was known for muggings and violent attacks, especially after dark. Edgar Sandoval, New York Times, "Tessa Majors Murder: 13-Year-Old Suspect Must Remain in Custody," 2 Jan. 2020 The energy storage component — at least 380 megawatts of four-hour lithium-ion batteries, capable of storing solar power for use after dark — would also be one of the largest facilities of its kind. Los Angeles Times, "Trump administration says it will approve largest U.S. solar farm," 1 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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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

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dark.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/darkness. Accessed 25 January 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

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).


dull or mediocre

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