[ dahrk ]
See synonyms for: darkdarkeddarkerdarkest on Thesaurus.com

adjective,dark·er, dark·est.
  1. having very little or no light: The movie projector works much better in a dark room.

  2. radiating, admitting, or reflecting little light: A worm bin can be started in a 10-gallon plastic container in a dark color.

  1. approaching black in hue: They stained the wood floor a dark brown.

  2. not pale or fair in skin tone: My mother had a dark complexion, but my father's was lighter.

  3. brunette; brown or black: The man is described as 55 to 65 years old, with short gray hair and dark eyebrows.

  4. having brown or black hair: She's dark but her children are blond.

  5. (of food or drink, especially coffee beans) roasted, cooked, or toasted until near black in color: often used to describe the process itself: That brand of coffee is good, but I can't always find the dark roast.

  6. (of coffee) containing only a small amount of milk or cream: We'll have two large coffees—one black, one dark and sweet.

  7. evil; iniquitous; wicked: At the film's climax, the protagonist reveals a dark plot to assassinate the king.

  8. gloomy; cheerless; dismal: He served as a courier for the Polish resistance during the dark days of World War II.

  9. dealing with subject matter that is shocking, disturbing, or grim: This manga is a bit darker than the typical princess novel, as it has some scenes with gore.

  10. sullen; frowning: With a dark expression, he demanded to know what she was doing.

  11. hidden; secret.

  12. hard to understand; obscure: Among the fragments left us by this poet, many lines are dark in meaning.

  13. silent; reticent.

  14. destitute of knowledge or culture; unenlightened.

  15. (of a theater) offering no performances; closed: The theaters in this town are dark on Sundays.

  16. Phonetics.

    • (of an l-sound) having back-vowel resonance; situated after a vowel in the same syllable.: Compare clear (def. 24a).

    • (of a speech sound) of dull quality; acoustically damped.

  1. the absence of light; darkness: I can't see well in the dark.

  2. night; nightfall: Please come home before dark.

  1. a color close to black, or something having such a color: Black and white photography has lots of darks.For best results, wash darks separately from whites.

  2. Archaic. a place that lacks light: Imagine diving into the dark of the sea and seeing a face emerge from the watery shadows.

verb (used with object)
  1. to make dark; darken: The windows of the car had been darked, making it impossible to see inside.

verb (used without object)
  1. Obsolete. to grow dark; darken.

Idioms about dark

  1. go dark,

    • to stop communicating, transmitting, or broadcasting: Thousands of websites went dark for a day to demonstrate that the bill would ruin the internet as we know it.I've tried to reach out, but he's gone dark and there's no contact.

    • to shut down or stop operating; close, temporarily or permanently: The area is so depressed that more than half the restaurants in this county have gone dark in the past five years.

  2. in the dark,

    • in ignorance; uninformed: He was in the dark about their plans for the evening.

    • in secrecy; concealed; obscure.

  1. keep dark, to keep as a secret; conceal: They kept their political activities dark.

Origin of dark

First recorded before 1000; (for the adjective) Middle English derk, Old English deorc; (for the noun and verb) Middle English, derivative of the adjective; compare Middle High German terken “to darken, hide”

synonym study For dark

1. Dark, dim, obscure, gloomy, murky refer to absence or insufficiency of light. Dark implies a more or less complete absence of light: a dark night. Dim implies faintness of light or indistinctness of form (resulting from the lack of light or from imperfect vision): a dim outline. Obscure implies dimness that may arise also from factors that interfere with light or vision: obscure because of haze. Gloomy means cloudy, ill-lighted, dusky: a gloomy hall. Murky implies a thick or misty darkness: murky water.

Other words for dark

Opposites for dark

Other words from dark

  • non·dark, adjective
  • pre·dark, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use dark in a sentence

  • His hair was darker—almost brown save at the temples, where age had faded it to an ashen colour.

    St. Martin's Summer | Rafael Sabatini
  • He made no further remark as they descended the darker section of the stair, and she could think of nothing to say to him.

    Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
  • There was the darker face—and there was Lettice; and each struggled for complete possession of her features.

    The Wave | Algernon Blackwood
  • But for sure behind this mystery o' the death o' Sir Lucien there's a darker mystery still; sair dark.

    Dope | Sax Rohmer
  • It is tolerably certain that this is a corrupt form of the passage, and only makes the matter darker.

British Dictionary definitions for dark


/ (dɑːk) /

  1. having little or no light: a dark street

  2. (of a colour) reflecting or transmitting little light: dark brown Compare light 1 (def. 29), medium (def. 2)

    • (of complexion, hair colour, etc) not fair or blond; swarthy; brunette

    • (in combination): dark-eyed

  1. gloomy or dismal

  2. sinister; evil: a dark purpose

  3. sullen or angry: a dark scowl

  4. ignorant or unenlightened: a dark period in our history

  5. secret or mysterious: keep it dark

  6. phonetics denoting an (l) pronounced with a velar articulation giving back vowel resonance. In English, l is usually dark when final or preconsonantal: Compare light 1 (def. 30)

  7. go dark stock exchange informal (of a company) to remove itself from the register of major exchanges while continuing to trade

  1. absence of light; darkness

  2. night or nightfall

  1. a dark place, patch, or shadow

  2. a state of ignorance (esp in the phrase in the dark)

  1. an archaic word for darken

Origin of dark

Old English deorc; related to Old High German terchennen to hide

Derived forms of dark

  • darkish, adjective
  • darkly, adverb
  • darkness, noun

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with dark


In addition to the idioms beginning with dark

  • darken someone's door
  • dark horse

also see:

  • in the dark
  • keep someone in the dark
  • leap in the dark
  • shot in the dark
  • whistle in the dark

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.