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

The episodes take place in different places, and there are also different genres: there’s a fairy tale, a black comedy, a horror movie, a film noir, and so on. Adam Rathe, Town & Country, "Matthew Weiner Says Being a Romanoff Is "Almost Like Saying You’re a Kennedy"," 14 Oct. 2018 Phil embraces all the film noir tropes — the smoking, the cynicism, the reliance on voiceover. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "The Happytime Murders tests the limits of subverting nostalgia," 24 Aug. 2018 The Céline neutral tone top-handle purse was the ideal foil for her film noir-friendly separates. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Angelina Jolie’s Secret Style Weapon? The Top-Handle Tote," 15 Aug. 2018 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

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

15 Nov 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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