Definition of tenebrous
- a tenebrous affair
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
a tenebrous night with no moon
in the midst of those tenebrous days Thomas Paine penned the immortal words “These are the times that try men's souls”
Tenebrous means "obscure" or "murky," but there's nothing unclear about its history. Etymologists know that the word derives from the Latin noun tenebrae, which means "darkness." "Tenebrous" has been used in English since the 15th century, and in the 20th century it was joined by some interesting relations. "Tenebrionid" is the name of a nocturnal beetle that is usually dark-colored and is also called a "darkling beetle." "Tenebrism" refers to a style of painting - associated with the Italian painter Caravaggio - in which most of the figures are engulfed in shadow but some are dramatically illuminated by concentrated light.
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tenebrous
What made you want to look up tenebrous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!
Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!TAKE THE QUIZ
Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.TAKE THE QUIZ