1 of 2


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


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

Examples of noir in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
In this neo noir police drama, agent Belén Santiago seeks redemption by investigating a murder in a Puerto Rican mountain town. John Hopewell, Variety, 28 Nov. 2023 The Virginia brother duo of Pusha T and No Malice were likely your favorite rapper’s favorite rappers growing up, known for the noir of their drug-game yarns and the icy, experimental sonics courtesy of producers the Neptunes. August Brown, Los Angeles Times, 12 Nov. 2023 Filming on the mostly English-language atmospheric noir wrapped on Nov. 4 on the island, which is located off the coast of Tuscany. Nick Vivarelli, Variety, 10 Nov. 2023 Fans of Thomas Ligotti and lovers of nihilistic noir would be remiss to skip this dark gem. Gabino Iglesias, New York Times, 15 Oct. 2023 Similarly, the Rare Beauty founder wore the flattering denim style, styling it with a black shirt and matching noir bag. Alyssa Grabinski, Peoplemag, 26 Oct. 2023 Lee co-wrote and also stars in Love Is a Gun, an existential noir that tells the story of a young man desperately trying to move on from a life of crime. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 Oct. 2023 Also this week, guest National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences President and CEO Adam Sharp discusses the diversity of the organization’s judges and Times staffers recommend a gripping Korean reality competition and a tense Navajo noir. Los Angeles Times Staff, Los Angeles Times, 25 Aug. 2023 The film is a character study with elements of noir. Anh Do, Los Angeles Times, 18 Oct. 2023
From there, the film goes off the rails in a noir-ish third act as both Jack and Babbette are sent over the edge and driven to acts of desperation. Joey Morona, cleveland, 29 Nov. 2022 There are a lot of familiar genre elements, in terms of neo-noir detective stories, as well as classic vigilante superhero stories. Hazlitt, 21 July 2022 Back in June, it was announced that Chucky season 2 will feature a reunion of Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, and Joe Pantoliano, the three principal actors from the 1996 neo-noir Bound. Clark Collis,, 4 Oct. 2022 But the familiar noir trappings of this thriller about a detective (Park Hae-il) clouded by his attraction to a murder suspect (Tang Wei) disguise the subversions and emotional complications of the twisty plot. A.a. Dowd, Chron, 15 Dec. 2022 Exiled from law enforcement, like many a noir protagonist, Nate must find an alternative route to justice for himself and his community. Los Angeles Times, 28 Nov. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'noir.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



short for film noir

First Known Use


1977, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1958, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of noir was in 1958

Dictionary Entries Near noir

Cite this Entry

“Noir.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

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