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, US : 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, US : 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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of sunset in a Sentence

Noun We worked from sunrise to sunset. the golden light of sunset
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The floral print has plenty of yellows and oranges to transition to fall and the pretty tie on the back would make for a lovely photograph holding hands and walking into the sunset. Olivia O'bryon, Forbes, 10 Oct. 2021 The series finale showed them back together and sailing off into the sunset. Katie Bowlby, Country Living, 7 Oct. 2021 Other artists would have ridden off into the sunset after scoring such a left-field yet epoch-defining hit, but Lil Nas X, born Montero Lamar Hill in 1999, has taken the opposite approach. Maura Johnston,, 17 Sep. 2021 Remember how Ed Orgeron went 6-2 as the interim coach during a wild stretch that featured fans rushing the field and players attempting to carry Orgeron into the sunset? Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, 12 Sep. 2021 Television has set many ships sailing off into the sunset, many of which were sealed with a kiss. Ineye Komonibo,, 9 Sep. 2021 Through October, take a two-hour morning or sunset cruise around the Inner Harbor and peek at historic sites like Fort McHenry National Monument and Federal Hill. Jennifer Kester, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021 By the end of the song, the pair are joined with a sunset backdrop. Emily Zemler, Rolling Stone, 29 Sep. 2021 Storm chances favor the through-sunset part of the evening. Washington Post, 28 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Look high in the southwest before dawn for these jewels of the night sky that are soon to be post-sunset objects—and with us all winter! Jamie Carter, Forbes, 19 Sep. 2021 Rosenthal lived in Unit 705 — a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment that had a sunset view of Collins Avenue and Biscayne Bay — for 20 years, still paying off the mortgage. Washington Post, 1 July 2021 Here are 7 things to see in the post-sunset night sky this weekend and all through summer: 1. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 25 June 2021 The instant mood setter for every post-sunset gathering. Marisa Spyker, Southern Living, 11 June 2021 May 2021 saw the return of Venus to the post-sunset night sky after six months in the morning sky. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 26 May 2021 Earth’s sister planet Venus will this week make a dramatic return to the post-sunset evening sky. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 8 May 2021 The canopy has an adjustable design that shoppers say is easy to position as the sun moves throughout the day, and it can be rotated back post-sunset. Sanah Faroke, Better Homes & Gardens, 30 Apr. 2021 Community, tradition and celebration are all part of the sacred month, with families gathering for the early morning meal, known as suhoor, and the post-sunset meal, known as iftar, to break their fasts together. Editors, USA TODAY, 12 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb State flags will fly at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Oct. 18 in Tillion’s honor. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, 14 Oct. 2021 With the tax landscape subject to change in the next year, your financial team should be formulating a plan for the gift tax exemptions set to sunset in 2025. Charlene Wehring, Forbes, 22 Sep. 2021 Kentucky could lose up to $25 million in tax revenue to pay for the credits each year of the program, which is set to sunset in five years. Olivia Krauth, The Courier-Journal, 17 Sep. 2021 About two-thirds of Alabama school districts, charter schools and magnet schools currently require masks, according to an Ed Lab tracker, though many local requirements are currently set to sunset after Labor Day. Trisha Powell Crain |, al, 26 Aug. 2021 Open Monday to Saturday 1 to 8 p.m., Sunday 1 to 7 p.m.; disc golf course open sunrise to sunset. Washington Post, 20 Aug. 2021 The conservancy is open from sunrise to sunset daily and is free to visit. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 19 Aug. 2021 Grounds open seven days a week, every day, sunrise to sunset., 21 June 2021 An Urban Institute analysis published in late July projected a nearly 45% decrease in the number of poor Americans compared to 2018, though researchers warned the relief could end once those programs sunset. Sydney Brownstone, Anchorage Daily News, 22 Aug. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About sunset

Time Traveler for sunset

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near sunset



sunset clam

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for sunset

Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sunset.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on sunset

Nglish: Translation of sunset for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sunset for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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