dark·​ness ˈdärk-nəs How to pronounce darkness (audio)
: the quality or state of being dark: such as
: the total or near total absence of light
There was almost no light when he opened his eyes again. The darkness of night was thick and for a moment he began to panic again.Gary Paulsen
: the quality of being dark in shade or color
the darkness of the old wooden floor
the darkness of these blues and greens
: dark color or colors
In O'Donnell's paintings, darkness pre-dominates. If there are bright colors, they are painted over a deep-hued ground.Richard Kalina
: the quality of being dark in complexion
Few people know the isolation Owens endured during his childhood in Alexander City, Ala. Other kids teased him mercilessly for the darkness of his skin and his beanpole physique.Jeffri Chadiha
: a gloomy or depressed state or tone
I'm not suicidal, clinically depressed, or bipolar, but I am subject to mood swings. … I've tried a number of different mental techniques, mostly prayer, visualization, and meditation, but nothing has worked to lighten my darkness.Will Manley
And the other darkness was a tremendous sorrow, a deep sadness that her mother was dead and that the princess could, now, only talk to her in her dreams.Kate DiCamillo
What, I wondered, did the good man of the cloth make of the reckless humor, the anger and the darkness of those late works?Russell Banks
: evil
From the same source he drew the picture of a heavenly visitor, a god who comes to earth to impart true knowledge … and save humanity from the powers of darkness.J. Louis Martyn
: a lack of knowledge or enlightenment
In 1492, the intellectual darkness that shrouded Europe for centuries was slowly, almost grudgingly lifting.Bob Fisher

Examples of darkness in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web November darkness is upon us and Thanksgiving prep is ratcheting up, but culture stops for no one. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2023 There is a little too much darkness in this world and not enough light, a little too much pseudoscience and not enough science. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 17 Nov. 2023 On her way down in the darkness, Ms. Cepeda plummeted to the ground, shattering her lower left leg and foot. Miriam Jordan, New York Times, 14 Nov. 2023 Under the cover of darkness, Ukrainian tankers have a big advantage over Russian tankers. David Axe, Forbes, 13 Nov. 2023 After five or six years of working on this thing in secret, the company has emerged from the darkness and demonstrated its wearable device to the tech press. WIRED, 9 Nov. 2023 The exchange took place in darkness, as two Hamas militants wearing black ski masks and holding assault rifles passed the captives to unarmed I.C.R.C. delegates wearing white safety vests. Steve Coll, The New Yorker, 8 Nov. 2023 The actual significance of Diwali is good overcoming evil, and light dispelling darkness and ignorance. Parizaad Khan Sethi, Vogue, 7 Nov. 2023 In the darkness, Abu Sitta said, doctors treated people in the car park. Compiled By Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 7 Nov. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English derknesse, going back to Old English deorcnysse, from deorc dark entry 1 + -nysse -ness

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of darkness was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near darkness

Cite this Entry

“Darkness.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/darkness. Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

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