Try Our Apps


The Best Internet Slang


[dahrk-ling] /ˈdɑrk lɪŋ/
in the dark.
growing dark.
being or occurring in the dark; dark; obscure.
vaguely threatening or menacing.
Origin of darkling
late Middle English
First recorded in 1400-50, darkling is from the late Middle English word derkeling. See dark, -ling2


[dahr-kuh l] /ˈdɑr kəl/
verb (used without object), darkled, darkling.
to appear dark; show indistinctly.
to grow dark, gloomy, etc.
1790-1800; back formation from darkling, adv. taken as present participle Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for darkling
Historical Examples
  • Immediately the square of darkling sky was eclipsed by the cabby's face.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • The gloom of the darkling forests, too, had passed into the sunlit parks of delight.

    The Golden Woman Ridgwell Cullum
  • A darkling shade settled on the face of the devoted secretary.

    Victory Joseph Conrad
  • The cold, steely, darkling sweep of desert had been transformed.

  • Not that my desire failed, but aid came not to ferry me over the darkling waters.

    Saronia Richard Short
  • But soon the dusk won its will, and the darkling track lay empty.

    Northern Spain Edgar T. A. Wigram
  • She looked up, as I hesitated, and flashed that darkling glance of hers at me.

    The Copperhead Harold Frederic
  • Bonaparte fixed an eye, darkling as an eagle's, on Bernadotte.

    The Companions of Jehu Alexandre Dumas, pre
  • She carried some rugs for me through the shrubbery in the darkling.

    Tono Bungay H. G. Wells
  • Away in a darkling corner, under the organ, sate a squad of footmen.

    The Newcomes William Makepeace Thackeray
British Dictionary definitions for darkling


adverb, adjective
in the dark or night
darkening or almost dark; obscure
Word Origin
C15: from dark + -ling²


verb (archaic or literary)
to grow dark; darken
(intransitive) to appear dark or indistinct
Word Origin
C19: back formation from darkling
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for darkling

"in the dark," mid-15c., from dark (n.) + now-obsolete adverbial ending -ling.

But having nothing to do with the participial -ing it does not mean growing dark &c.; from the mistaken notion that it is a participle spring both the misuse of the word itself and the spurious verb darkle. [Fowler]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for darkling

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for darkling

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for darkling