[ten-uh-bruh s]


dark; gloomy; obscure.

Also te·neb·ri·ous [tuh-neb-ree-uh s] /təˈnɛb ri əs/.

Origin of tenebrous

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English word from Latin word tenebrōsus. See Tenebrae, -ous
Related formsten·e·brous·ness, nounun·ten·e·brous, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tenebrous

Contemporary Examples of tenebrous

  • The Republicans, however, sat with tenebrous expressions that matched the black curtain hiding their legs.

    The Daily Beast logo
    My Birthday With Sonia

    Lucinda Franks

    July 25, 2009

Historical Examples of tenebrous

  • Your voice is tenebrous, as if An angel mocked a blackbird's pipe.


    John Gray

  • But her imagination was roving in the dim oil-lit streets of the tenebrous city, striving for the clairvoyance of love.

  • Never had she looked to Ray so like an eagle, so keen, so fierce, so fit for braving either sun or tenebrous cavern.

    The Precipice

    Elia Wilkinson Peattie

  • At what moment will the fierce impurities borne from its somber and tenebrous past be hurled up in you?

  • Winged things that were not bats swooped and fluttered in the tenebrous air, whispering sibilantly—whispering in human voices.

British Dictionary definitions for tenebrous


tenebrious (təˈnɛbrɪəs)


gloomy, shadowy, or dark
Derived Formstenebrosity (ˌtɛnəˈbrɒsɪtɪ), tenebrousness or tenebriousness, noun

Word Origin for tenebrous

C15: from Latin tenebrōsus from tenebrae darkness
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 tenebrous

"full of darkness," early 15c., from Old French tenebreus (11c.), from Latin tenebrosus, from tenebrae "darkness" (see temerity).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper