film noir

\ -ˈnwär \
plural film noirs\-ˈnwär(z) \ or films noir or films noirs\-ˈnwär \

Definition of film noir 

: a type of crime film featuring cynical malevolent characters in a sleazy setting and an ominous atmosphere that is conveyed by shadowy photography and foreboding background music also : a film of this type

Examples of film noir in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But for better or worse, the new version has no interest in fashioning the same sort of mashup of blaxploitation and film noir that Gordon Parks Jr. created. Michael Phillips,, "'Superfly' review: One last score, this time in Atlanta," 12 June 2018 All three contain elements of film noir, and all three are vintage Los Angeles stories, to be sure. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Chinatown, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and L.A. Confidential explore the shady deals that built the sprawling megalopolis.," 22 June 2018 Born in 1899, Howe was known for his use of dramatic lighting and shadows, traits that came to be known as film noir. Abby Jones, Billboard, "Google Doodle Honors Oscar-Winning Cinematographer James Wong Howe," 25 May 2018 On the Waterfront The Oscar nomination plaque for a score that typifies the brassy dissonance of 1950s movie music, elevating this gritty film noir starring Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint to eight Oscars wins including best picture. Jordan Riefe, The Hollywood Reporter, "Skirball Cultural Center Celebrates 'Leonard Bernstein at 100'," 27 Apr. 2018 Former Tribune reporter John Lucadamo, a longtime friend who later taught at New Trier High School, recalled studying film noir with Moore and also introducing him to the Episcopal church. Bob Goldsborough,, "Kevin Moore, entertainment editor for two Chicago newspapers, dies," 13 Apr. 2018 The plot turns can't save this 1956 film noir from its wooden acting or the gaping holes in the story. Chris Ball,, "Margot Robbie in 'I, Tonya,' now on DVD and Blu-ray (review)," 25 Mar. 2018 Enter this inventive hybrid — part picture book, graphic novel, and primer and full-blown homage to film noir. Susan Faust, San Francisco Chronicle, "Roundup of children’s books," 24 Feb. 2018 For instance, while the trailer takes a film noir approach to introducing us to the movie, these new posters are kind of the opposite: Photo: Courtesy of Lionsgate. Kathryn Lindsay,, "What The Hell Is This Blake Lively & Anna Kendrick Movie Even About?," 19 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'film noir.' 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 film noir

1930, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for film noir

French, literally, black film

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Last Updated

6 Sep 2018

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The first known use of film noir was in 1930

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More Definitions for film noir

film noir


English Language Learners Definition of film noir

: a movie about crime that uses dark shadows and lighting to show the complicated moral nature of the subject; also : this style of film

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See words that rhyme with film noir Encyclopedia article about film noir

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occurring twice a year or every two years

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