noir

noun
\ 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

noir

adjective

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from noir

Noun

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

Examples of noir in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The 1996 neo-noir follows two women — femme fatale Violet (Jennifer Tilly) and ex-con Corky (Gina Gershon) — who fall in love and team up to steal $2 million from Violet’s mobster boyfriend, Caesar (Joe Pantoliano). Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "The Wachowskis were offered a bigger budget to make Bound a heterosexual love story," 7 June 2019 The shooter was generally well-regarded at the time, sure, but mostly for its comic book art style and neo-noir trappings. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Lego Star Wars returns, Ubisoft gives away Assassin's Creed: Unity after Notre Dame fire," 15 Apr. 2019 This gritty, niche museum is a must for lovers of real-life crime documentaries and Nordic noir. Sophie Davies, Condé Nast Traveler, "15 Best Museums in Sydney," 23 Mar. 2018 The whole thing is very film noir, which may connect to the noir episode coming later this season. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "9 Secret Signs in the New "Riverdale" Trailer That Prove Season 3 Part 2 Will Be Epic," 10 Jan. 2019 There was Yara Shahidi's soft rosy lids and voluminous curls, Laura Harrier's fuschia frock and matching magenta pout, and across the carpet, Lady Gaga swiped on a goth noir lipstick to offset her angelic white gown. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "The Best Beauty Looks From the 2019 SAG Awards," 28 Jan. 2019 By playing up the noir aspects of Mrs. Appleyard’s secret history and giving Miranda a clear motivation for fleeing, the show becomes a blazing feminist allegory. Rachel Syme, The New Republic, "Picnic at Hanging Rock," 22 May 2018 At his Fall 2019 menswear show for his eponymous brand tonight, the designer took inspiration from another David Lynch classic, the auteur’s 1986 neo-noir Blue Velvet. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Laura Dern Was on the Clothing—And in the Front Row—at Raf Simons," 17 Jan. 2019 The series first seems to be a simple murder mystery, with a new-noir take on the archetypal protagonist. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "TV Technica 2018: Our favorite shows and binges," 24 Dec. 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, BostonGlobe.com, "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, BostonGlobe.com, "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.

See More

First Known Use of noir

Noun

1977, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1958, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for noir

Noun

short for film noir

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about noir

Statistics for noir

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for noir

The first known use of noir was in 1958

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on noir

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

WORD OF THE DAY

showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!