- in the dark.
- growing dark.
- being or occurring in the dark; dark; obscure.
- vaguely threatening or menacing.
Origin of darkling
- to appear dark; show indistinctly.
- to grow dark, gloomy, etc.
Origin of darkle
1790–1800; back formation from darkling, adv. taken as present participle
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for darkling
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
A darkling shade settled on the face of the devoted secretary.Victory
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
- in the dark or night
- darkening or almost dark; obscure
C15: from dark + -ling ²
- to grow dark; darken
- (intr) to appear dark or indistinct
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
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