[ dahr-kee ]
/ ˈdɑr ki /
noun, plural dark·ies. Older Use: Now Offensive.
a term used to refer to a black person.
The earliest uses of darky in English were sentimental, probably affectionate in intent, although it is likely that even then, those who were addressed or referred to by the term found it patronizing. For example, the lyrics of Stephen Foster's song My Old Kentucky Home (1853) refer with nostalgia to happy darkies. But by the early part of the 20th century, the term had became increasingly offensive and unacceptable. Current versions of the Foster lyrics refer instead to “people.”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for darky
darkie or darkey
/ (ˈdɑːkɪ) /
noun plural darkies or darkeys informal
an offensive word for a Black person
Australian an offensive word for a native Australian
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 darky
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper