sun·​set | \ ˈsən-ˌset How to pronounce sunset (audio) \

Definition of sunset

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the apparent descent of the sun below the horizon also : the accompanying atmospheric effects
2 : the time when the upper limb of the sun disappears below the horizon as a result of the diurnal rotation of the earth
3 : a period of decline especially : old age



Definition of sunset (Entry 2 of 3)

: stipulating the periodic review of government agencies and programs in order to continue their existence sunset laws


sunsetted; sunsetting

Definition of sunset (Entry 3 of 3)

1 transitive : to cause or allow (something, such as a law) to lapse, end, or be terminated And yet, even though he was part of the coalition, Obama offered an amendment … that would have sunsetted the merit-based evaluation system for immigrants after five years.— Jake Tapper In an effort to cut back on projects, Google decided to sunset Google Reader …— Tristan Louis
2 intransitive : to lapse or come to an end : expire laws that will sunset at the end of the year Since the credit will sunset at the end of 2016, its fate could rest in the hands of a new Congress and a new president—who might not necessarily see the value in reinstating the credit.— Eric S. Peterson

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Examples of sunset in a Sentence


We worked from sunrise to sunset. the golden light of sunset

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

So she's definitely got to be [intellectual], able to go on hikes with him and watch the sunset. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Everything You Need to Know About Noah Centineo's Love Life," 21 Feb. 2019 In Oia, Catch was a great spot to watch the sunset and enjoy any number of fish dishes. Kerry Pieri, Harper's BAZAAR, "Where to Go, Where to Eat, and What to See at Instagram's Favorite Destination," 21 Dec. 2018 Waste waters and garbage Alejandro Sánchez, who lives in the historic center of Cienfuegos, likes to take advantage of the afternoon breeze to take his girlfriend to the main dock, the Muelle Real, to watch the sunset. Mario J. Pentón, miamiherald, "Pollution is destroying the environment and livelihood for residents in this Cuban city," 7 June 2018 Maybe one day that even means hubby Ladd Drummond will have his own line of tractors and Pawhuska's first couple can hop aboard and fade off dramatically into the Oklahoma sunset. Southern Living, "The Pioneer Woman's Empire Is About to Get Bigger," 4 Apr. 2018 Since the eclipse is happening so close to sunset, the best views are likely to be in Chile, where totality will occur while the sun is farther above the western horizon. Eleanor Hildebrandt, Popular Mechanics, "It's Not Too Early to Start Thinking About the July 2019 Solar Eclipse," 7 Jan. 2019 Montana expanded its Medicaid program in 2015 as a pilot, and the ballot measure would extend that beyond 2019, when the expansion is now scheduled to sunset. Stephanie Armour, WSJ, "Medicaid-Expansion Fights Pit Hospitals, Labor Against Conservative Groups, Tobacco Companies," 20 Oct. 2018 Through Labor Day, bask at the weekly bonfire on Thursdays at 7 p.m. A food cart offers special drinks and nibbles then and from noon to sunset on weekends. Jeanne Cooper,, "Where to watch the sunset with a cocktail around Half Moon Bay," 11 July 2018 Zajko, who fishes from sunrise to sunset approximately 40 days a year, is a regular on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s angler awards for biggest fish caught in the previous year. Jason Nark,, "Roxborough man wants to catch Pennsylvania's biggest fish, anywhere, anytime," 8 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Activities range from cocktail making classes to wine tastings, and scuba diving to sunset cruises. Lindsay Silberman, Town & Country, "The Best Room At...Joali Maldives," 12 May 2019 The nuclear deal’s restrictions on sales to Iran of conventional weapons and ballistic-missile technology will sunset in 2020 and 2023, respectively. Reuel Marc Gerecht, WSJ, "Tehran Counts on a Divided West," 12 Dec. 2018 Free traders also defeated the Trump demand to automatically sunset the deal every five years. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A New Nafta Relief," 1 Oct. 2018 Separately, voters in Montana appear to be rejecting a ballot to continue their Medicaid expansion (its funding is set to sunset this summer). Sarah Kliff, Vox, "Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah vote to expand Medicaid," 7 Nov. 2018 Another House GOP priority — to sunset all of the workforce development programs to start anew — also failed to make it to a floor vote. Kaitlin L Lange, Indianapolis Star, "House bill consolidating townships dies without a vote, despite support from House leaders," 5 Feb. 2018 If passed, the bill would sunset ICE within one year, then create a bipartisan group to work out a replacement. Jeff Stein And David Weigel,, "Democrats ready 'Abolish ICE' legislation that would shutter agency, shift immigration law enforcement," 10 July 2018 But there are other significant rifts: on Canadian and Mexican access to U.S. government projects, on whether the deal will sunset, and the process for resolving disputes. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Trump's NAFTA pledge in danger as key deadline passes," 17 May 2018 The pilot program is scheduled to sunset on July 12. Martin E. Comas,, "Seminole makes backyard chicken program permanent," 12 June 2018

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1974, in the meaning defined above


1976, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for sunset

Last Updated

18 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sunset

The first known use of sunset was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for sunset



English Language Learners Definition of sunset

: the time when the sun goes below the horizon in the evening
: the colors that are in the sky when the sun slowly goes below the horizon


sun·​set | \ ˈsən-ˌset How to pronounce sunset (audio) \

Kids Definition of sunset

1 : the apparent passing of the sun below the horizon
2 : the light and color of the passing of the sun below the horizon
3 : the time at which the sun sets



Legal Definition of sunset

: having or being a provision stipulating the termination or repeal of something (as a law, grant, or insurance coverage) on a specified date sunset laws requiring periodic review of programs to justify their continuance

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More from Merriam-Webster on sunset

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sunset

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sunset

Spanish Central: Translation of sunset

Nglish: Translation of sunset for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sunset for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sunset

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


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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