Meaning of DARK in English


I. dark 1 S2 W1 /dɑːk $ dɑːrk/ BrE AmE adjective ( comparative darker , superlative darkest )

[ Word Family: adjective : ↑ dark , darkened, darkening; noun : ↑ dark , ↑ darkness ; verb : ↑ darken ; adverb : ↑ darkly ]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: deorc ]

1 . NO LIGHT if it is dark, there is little or no light OPP light :

The church was dark and quiet.

the dark winter days

Suddenly, the room went dark (=became dark) .

It gets dark (=night begins) about ten o'clock.

It was still dark (=was night) when we boarded the train.

It was pitch dark (=completely dark) in the attic.

2 . COLOUR quite close to black in colour OPP light , pale :

There were dark clouds in the sky.

men in dark suits

a slightly darker colour

dark blue/green/pink etc

a dark blue dress

3 . HAIR/EYES/SKIN someone who is dark has hair, eyes, or skin that is brown or black in colour OPP fair :

a tall, dark man

John’s dark skin and eyes

4 . MYSTERIOUS mysterious or secret:

a dark secret

keep something dark British English (=keep something secret)

Apparently, he has a son, but he’s kept that very dark.

5 . EVIL evil or threatening:

There was a darker side to his character.

a place where so many dark deeds had been committed

the dark forces of the universe

6 . UNHAPPY TIME a dark time is unhappy or without hope:

the dark days of the war

Even in the darkest moments, I still had you, my love.

7 . FEELINGS/THOUGHTS if you have dark feelings or thoughts, you are very sad or worried:

a dark depression

her darkest fears

8 . HUMOUR dark humour deals with things that are bad or upsetting in a funny way SYN black :

the dark humor common in difficult situations

9 . darkest Africa/South America etc old-fashioned the parts of Africa etc about which we know very little - this use is now often considered offensive

• • •


▪ dark if a place is dark, there is little or no light:

The room was very dark.


No, you can’t play outside, it’s too dark.


It was a dark night with clouds covering the moon.

▪ dimly-lit a dimly-lit building or place is fairly dark because the lights there are not very bright:

a dimly-lit restaurant


The church was dimly lit.

▪ dim a dim light is fairly dark:

The camera can take good pictures even in dim lighting.


The evening sky grew dim.

▪ darkened a darkened room or building is darker than usual, especially because its lights have been turned off or the curtains have been drawn:

The prisoner lay in a darkened room.


The play starts with a darkened stage, and the sound of a woman singing softly.

▪ gloomy a gloomy place or room is not at all bright or cheerful:

The bar was gloomy and smelled of stale cigar smoke.

▪ murky dark and difficult to see through – used especially about water:

the murky waters of the lake


I could hardly see him in the murky light of the bar.

▪ pitch-dark/pitch-black completely dark, so that nothing can be seen:

It was pitch-dark inside the shed.

▪ shady a shady place is cooler and darker than the area around it, because the light of the sun cannot reach it:

It was nice and shady under the trees.


They found a shady spot for a picnic.

II. dark 2 BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: adjective : ↑ dark , darkened, darkening; noun : ↑ dark , ↑ darkness ; verb : ↑ darken ; adverb : ↑ darkly ]

1 . the dark when there is no light, especially because the sun has gone down:

my childish fear of the dark

in the dark

I turned off the light and lay there in the dark.

We stood outside in the pitch dark (=when there is no light at all) .

2 . after/before/until dark after, before, or until the sun goes down at night:

I want you home before dark.

3 . in the dark informal knowing nothing about something important, because you have not been told about it:

We’re in the dark just as much as you are.

College officials were kept in the dark about the investigation.

⇨ a shot in the dark at ↑ shot 1 (10)

• • •


■ dark colours

▪ dark used about a colour that is strong and fairly close to black:

a dark blue suit


His eyes are dark brown.

▪ deep fairly dark – often used when you think this colour looks attractive:

His eyes were a beautiful deep blue.


deep red lips

▪ rich used about a colour that is fairly dark in a way that gives a pleasant feeling of warmth:

The walls were painted a rich red colour.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.