- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- 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
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
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.