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90s Slang You Should Know


[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.
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Examples from the Web for darkling
Historical Examples
  • The causeway ran through it, a mere thread lipped by the darkling waves, and at the sight a grunt of relief broke from Badelon.

    Count Hannibal Stanley J. Weyman
  • The cold, steely, darkling sweep of desert had been transformed.

  • She let it stay, yet looked away from him, up through the darkling branches, and distressfully shook her head.

    Bonaventure George Washington Cable
  • Immediately the square of darkling sky was eclipsed by the cabby's face.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • Its windows, too, save one softly reddened by a remote lamp, reflected only the darkling sky.

    John March, Southerner George W. Cable
  • But soon the dusk won its will, and the darkling track lay empty.

    Northern Spain Edgar T. A. Wigram
  • Obtaining from her husband Gustave's address, Madame Rameau hastened to her son's apartment alone through the darkling streets.

    The Parisians, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • She looked up, as I hesitated, and flashed that darkling glance of hers at me.

    The Copperhead Harold Frederic
  • The gloom of the darkling forests, too, had passed into the sunlit parks of delight.

    The Golden Woman Ridgwell Cullum
  • Bonaparte fixed an eye, darkling as an eagle's, on Bernadotte.

    The Companions of Jehu Alexandre Dumas, pre
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
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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
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