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Dark Ages

the period in European history from about a.d. 476 to about 1000.
the whole of the Middle Ages, from about a.d. 476 to the Renaissance.
(often lowercase) a period or stage marked by repressiveness, a lack of enlightenment or advanced knowledge, etc.
Origin of Dark Ages
First recorded in 1720-30 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Dark Ages
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The world's treasures of Art are as safe with you as they were in the Dark Ages.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • The period of retrogression is known in history as the Dark Ages.

    Jesus the Christ James Edward Talmage
  • I haven't been to a Court since the Dark Ages, when I went to those beloved States.

    Michael E. F. Benson
  • Indeed, that was the orthodox Christian view in the Dark Ages.


    William Graham Sumner
  • The lancet was the magician's wand of the Dark Ages of medicine.

    Medical Essays Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • The labourer at the end of the Dark Ages was no longer a slave but a serf.

    Hilaire Belloc C. Creighton Mandell
British Dictionary definitions for Dark Ages

Dark Ages

plural noun (European history) the Dark Ages
the period from about the late 5th century ad to about 1000 ad, once considered an unenlightened period
(occasionally) the whole medieval period
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Dark Ages

dark ages

1739, any benighted time in history, period of ignorance; specific focus on the centuries from the fall of Rome to the revival of secular literature is from 1830s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Dark Ages in Culture

Dark Ages definition

A term sometimes applied to the early Middle Ages, the first few centuries after the Fall of Rome. The term suggests prevailing ignorance and barbarism, but there were forces for culture and enlightenment throughout the period.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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