[ dahrk-ling ]
/ ˈdɑrk lɪŋ /


in the dark.


growing dark.
being or occurring in the dark; dark; obscure.
vaguely threatening or menacing.

Nearby words

  1. darken someone's door,
  2. darkened,
  3. darkie,
  4. darkish,
  5. darkle,
  6. darkling beetle,
  7. darkly,
  8. darkness,
  9. darkroom,
  10. darksome

Origin of darkling

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), dar·kled, dar·kling.

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for darkling

British Dictionary definitions for darkling


/ (ˈdɑːklɪŋ) poetic /

adverb, adjective

in the dark or night


darkening or almost dark; obscure

Word Origin for darkling

C15: from dark + -ling ²


/ (ˈdɑːkəl) /

verb archaic, or literary

to grow dark; darken
(intr) to appear dark or indistinct

Word Origin for darkle

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