\ ˈnwär How to pronounce noir (audio) \

Definition of noir

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : crime fiction featuring hard-boiled cynical characters and bleak sleazy settings an example of classic noir
2 : film noir a comedy dressed in the trappings of an edgy noir

Definition of noir (Entry 2 of 2)

: having a bleak and darkly cynical quality of the kind associated with hard-boiled crime fiction and film noir a noir thriller In this boldly styled first novel, Komarnicki follows a 30-year-old homeless man on a noir odyssey of death and survival through the streets of New Orleans and Hong Kong.— Sybil S. Steinberg The plot of this violent fairy tale is as noir and nasty as the characters.— Marilyn Stasio

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Other Words from noir


noirish \ ˈnwär-​ish How to pronounce noirish (audio) \ adjective

Examples of noir in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And then it was gone, a victim of too many things too noir to go into right now. Beth Segal, cleveland, "Blue Habanero opens world of tacos and more: Dining review (photos)," 5 Dec. 2019 Their flagship production is Sleep No More, an interactive, film-noir-like take on Macbeth that plays out over three hours, five floors, and 100 rooms of a fictitious hotel. Amanda Shendruk, Quartz, "An industry built on the suspension of disbelief reveals its secrets to world building," 15 Jan. 2020 But playwright Jeffrey Hatcher’s 2013 adaptation adheres to a tighter, faster plot, reset in an eerier film-noir environment. oregonlive, "10 Portland area plays you won’t want to miss this winter," 8 Jan. 2020 Benson has crafted a noir film inside the pages of a book and the cast of characters in the present and past come vividly to life. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘Blues in the Dark’ is compelling crime novel," 7 Oct. 2019 This arthouse vampire western noir takes place in the imaginary Iranian town of Bad City, where a lonely vampire whiles away her time dancing alone in her apartment, skateboarding, lurking in the shadows, and intimidating children. Hanna Lustig, Teen Vogue, "13 Scariest Horror Movie Scenes," 31 Oct. 2019 November, the first installment of a graphic-novel trilogy with artist Elsa Charretier, is a fascinating noir that pits three normal women against an obscure but terrifying conspiracy. Christian Holub,, "5 comics to read in November 2019: Look to the future," 4 Nov. 2019 The Naked Spur James Stewart plays a bounty hunter in director Anthony Mann’s noir-ish 1953 western; with Janet Leigh, Robert Ryan. Los Angeles Times, "Classic movies in L.A. this week: Peter Fonda in ‘Easy Rider’ and more," 1 Sep. 2019 There are other references: the Bogart movie In a Lonely Place, about a Hollywood writer trying to keep the police from pinning a murder on him, and another noir classic best left unmentioned. Gary Thompson,, "Kirke captains 'Gemini,' a nimble neo-noir," 4 Apr. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective So Dark the Night’ [from 1946, screening June 9] is noir character actor Steven Geray’s only starring role. Loren King,, "The man who speaks film noir is on a mission," 31 May 2018 The Hollywood blacklist is an ongoing theme of Muller’s backstories; not surprising, since the postwar era was noir’s heyday and its subject matter is by definition dark and often nihilistic. Loren King,, "The man who speaks film noir is on a mission," 31 May 2018 This narrative style fits the game’s 1950s detective noir film aesthetic. Michael Moore, The Verge, "A Case of Distrust is a minimalist noir story," 18 Mar. 2018

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


1977, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1958, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for noir


short for film noir

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Statistics for noir

Last Updated

20 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Noir.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on noir

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with noir

Nglish: Translation of noir for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of noir for Arabic Speakers

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