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  1. total or partial darkness; dimness.
  2. a state of melancholy or depression; low spirits.
  3. a despondent or depressed look or expression.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to appear or become dark, dim, or somber.
  2. to look sad, dismal, or dejected; frown.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to fill with gloom; make gloomy or sad; sadden.
  2. to make dark or somber.
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Origin of gloom

1300–50; Middle English gloumben, glomen to frown, perhaps representing Old English *glūmian (akin to early German gläumen to make turbid); see glum
Related formsgloom·ful, adjectivegloom·ful·ly, adverbgloom·less, adjectiveout·gloom, verb (used with object)un·der·gloom, nounun·gloom, verb (used with object)

Synonyms for gloom

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Antonyms for gloom


plural noun
  1. the blues; melancholy (usually preceded by the).
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Origin of glooms

First recorded in 1735–45; see origin at gloom, -s3
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for gloom

doldrums, malaise, foreboding, sorrow, pessimism, bitterness, weariness, grief, sadness, despair, misery, woe, discouragement, anguish, horror, shadow, cloud, distress, blues, unhappiness

Examples from the Web for gloom

Contemporary Examples of gloom

Historical Examples of gloom

British Dictionary definitions for gloom


  1. partial or total darkness
  2. a state of depression or melancholy
  3. an appearance or expression of despondency or melancholy
  4. poetic a dim or dark place
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  1. (intr) to look sullen or depressed
  2. to make or become dark or gloomy
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Derived Formsgloomful, adjectivegloomfully, adverbgloomless, adjective

Word Origin for gloom

C14 gloumben to look sullen; related to Norwegian dialect glome to eye suspiciously
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 gloom

c.1300 as a verb, "to look sullen or displeased," perhaps from Scandinavian (cf. Norwegian dialectal glome "to stare somberly"). Not considered to be related to Old English glom "twilight," but perhaps to Middle Low German glum "turbid," Dutch gluren "to leer." The noun is 1590s in Scottish, "sullen look," from the verb. Sense of "darkness, obscurity" is first recorded 1629 in Milton's poetry; that of "melancholy" is 1744 (gloomy in this sense is attested from 1580s).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper