Meaning of DARK in English


I. ˈdärk, ˈdȧk adjective

( -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English derk, from Old English deorc; akin to Old High German tarchannen to hide, Middle Irish derg red, Latin fraces dregs of oil, Greek thrassein, thrattein to trouble, disturb, and probably to Lithuanian darga rainy weather


a. : destitute or partially destitute of light : not receiving, reflecting, transmitting, or radiating light

dark as night

also : having no lights burning

the theater was totally dark

b. : transmitting only a portion of light, brilliance, or glare

a dark lampshade

dark glasses


a. : wholly or partially black : somberly hued : of a deep shade

dark earth

a dark -haired girl

the dark robes of the clergy

specifically of color : of low or very low lightness

b. : made of whole wheat flour

a loaf of dark bread

or of white flour darkened with spices or other ingredients

dark fruitcake


a. : arising from, exhibiting, or motivated by evil traits or desires : wicked , iniquitous

the dark side of his character

the dark powers that lead to war

b. : destitute of sunniness or cheer : gloomy , dismal , sad

he's always looking at the dark side of things

the dark days of the war

c. : destitute of knowledge or culture : spiritually or intellectually retarded, backward, or primitive : unrefined , ignorant

the dark age of poetry among us is almost over — H.A.Overstreet

4. : not readily perceptible: as

a. of a celestial body , archaic : barely visible : dim

b. : not clear to the understanding : obscure

that makes much which was dark quite clear to me — John Galsworthy

5. now dialect : unable to see : blind

what way would I see … and I a dark woman since the seventh year of my age — J.M.Synge


a. of the human complexion : not fair : dusky , swarthy

brick-red face grew darker — Kenneth Roberts

nor had she lost her dark good looks — Irish Digest

b. : having or characterized by a skin rich in melanoid pigments

the dark races


a. : secret : not known to the public — used chiefly with keep

he kept his plans dark

— see dark horse

b. : mysterious

an imagination that was dark and rich

c. : secretive , reticent

he was always quite dark about the matter


a. of sound : possessing depth and somberness

a woman with a beautifully dark contralto

everywhere the dark laughter of the Negro is to be heard — American Guide Series: Virginia

b. of an l sound : formed with the tip of the tongue on the teethridge and the rest of the tongue in a position similar to that of a back vowel — compare clear I 2b

c. of a vowel : articulated with the back of the tongue higher than its rest position

ȯ and ü are dark

9. of tobacco : fire-cured or dark air-cured


dim , dusky , dusk , darkling , obscure , murky , opaque gloomy: dark , the most general and common term of this group, implies a lack or deficiency of light or illumination of whatever kind

it looked dark as pitch, so I gave him to understand that he must strike a light — Herman Melville

telling me that they were waiting till it was dark to speak to him: that they did not dare to speak to him during the light — Anthony Trollope

dim suggests darkness enough to render outlines indistinct and shadowy

“Shall I light a taper?” “There is no need. I love this dim light of evening” — C.R.Nordhoff & J.N.Hall

the dim grassy bank amid the tossing trees purple with twilight — G.K.Chesterton

dusky and the uncommon dusk signify a twilight condition and suggest approaching darkness

but comes at last the dull and dusky eve — William Cowper

during the short period of a total eclipse bright stars may appear in a dusky sky — R.M.Sutton

the dusk heavens — John Keats

darkling may connote the mysterious, ominous, or uncanny

the darkling night, lit only as it was by the slender moon — H.G.Wells

as on a darkling plain swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, where ignorant armies clash by night — Matthew Arnold

obscure is likely to imply darkness and also concealment, covering, or overshadowing

it does not matter to real culture whether a book be lucid as transparent air, or sullenly obscure as pitch-black midnight — J.C.Powys

a small room, obscure because it was heavily curtained — Arnold Bennett

Orig. connoting intense darkness, murky now often suggests a blanketing thickness or heaviness

London seemed last winter like an underground city; as if its low sky were the roof of a cave, and its murky day a light such as one reads of in countries beneath the earth — L.P.Smith

a coarse, cheap, and offensive-smelling tobacco. The air was thick and murky with the smoke of it — Jack London

opaque , comparatively poor in suggestion, means impervious to light, opposed to transparent and translucent

opaque from rain drawn in slant streaks by wind and speed across the pane, the window of the railway carriage lets nothing be seen but stray flashes of red lights — Richard Jefferies

gloomy implies interference with free radiation of light and usually connotes a pervading cheerlesness

their gloomy pathway tended upward, so that, through a crevice, a little daylight glimmered down upon them, or even a streak of sunshine peeped into a burial niche — Nathaniel Hawthorne

Synonym: see in addition obscure .

II. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English derk, from derk, adjective

1. : absence of light : darkness

stumbling about in the dark

: a place where or the time when there is little or no light

the fugitives moved into the dark and waited

: night , nightfall

we'd better wait till dark — Zane Grey


a. : something devoid of or not predominantly light, bright, or brilliant : something somber or subdued

though still early fall light clothes had given way to winter darks

b. : a dark or somber hue : deep color

in water color the darkest tones can be darker than in fresco, but attempts to rival the darks of oil always looks forced — C.W.H.Johnson

3. darks pl but singular or plural in construction : broadleaf or Havana seed tobacco used for cigar binders

- in the dark

III. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English derken, from Old English deorcian to become dark, grow dim, from deorc dark

intransitive verb

1. obsolete : to grow dark : darken ; specifically : to undergo eclipse

2. dialect England : eavesdrop

transitive verb

: to make dark : dim , cloud

the folk whose shadows darked the blinds — John Masefield

IV. adverb

Etymology: dark (I)

archaic : darkly

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.