synonyms, antonyms, definitions, examples & translations of dark in English

English Online Dictionary. What means dark‎? What does dark mean?



  • (General American) enPR: därk, IPA(key): /dɑɹk/
  • (Received Pronunciation) enPR: därk, IPA(key): /dɑːk/
  • Rhymes: -ɑː(ɹ)k

Etymology 1

From Middle English derk, from Old English deorc, from Proto-West Germanic *derk (dark), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰerg- (dim, dull), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰer- (dull, dirty).


dark (comparative darker, superlative darkest)

  1. Having an absolute or (more often) relative lack of light.
    1. (of a source of light) Extinguished.
    2. Deprived of sight; blind.
      • 29 March 1661 (entry), 1818 (first published), John Evelyn, Diary
        He was, I think, at this time quite dark, and so had been for some years.
  2. (of colour) Dull or deeper in hue; not bright or light.
    • Serene, smiling, enigmatic, she faced him with no fear whatever showing in her dark eyes. The clear light of the bright autumn morning had no terrors for youth and health like hers.
    • If I close my eyes I can see Marie today as I saw her then. Round, rosy face, snub nose, dark hair piled up in a chignon.
  3. (broadcasting, of a television station) Off the air; not transmitting.
  4. Hidden, secret, obscure.
    1. Not clear to the understanding; not easily through; obscure; mysterious; hidden.
      • 1594–, Richard Hooker, Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie
        What may seem dark at the first, will afterward be found more plain.
      • 1801, Isaac Watts, The improvement of the mind, or A supplement to the art of logic
        It is the remark of an ingenious writer, should a barbarous Indian, who had never seen a palace or a ship, view their separate and disjointed parts, and observe the pillars, doors, windows, cornices and turrets of the one, or the prow and stern, the ribs and masts, the ropes and shrouds, the sails and tackle of the other, he would be able to form but a very lame and dark idea of either of those excellent and useful inventions.
      • 1881, John Shairp, Aspects of Poetry
        the dark problems of existence
    2. (gambling, of race horses) Having racing capability not widely known.
  5. Without moral or spiritual light; sinister, malign.
  6. Conducive to hopelessness; depressing or bleak.
    • 1819-1820, Washington Irving, The Sketch Book
      There is, in every true woman's heart, a spark of heavenly fire, which beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.
  7. Lacking progress in science or the arts; said of a time period.
    • 1668, John Denham, The Progress of Learning
      The age wherein he lived was dark, but he / Could not want light who taught the world to see.
    • 1837, Henry Hallam, Introduction to the Literature of Europe, in the Fifteenth, Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
      The tenth century used to be reckoned by mediaeval historians as the darkest part of this intellectual night.
  8. With emphasis placed on the unpleasant aspects of life; said of a work of fiction, a work of nonfiction presented in narrative form or a portion of either.
  • (relative lack of light): dim, gloomy, see also Thesaurus:dark
  • (sinister or secret): hidden, secret, sinister, see also Thesaurus:hidden
  • (without morals): malign, sinister, see also Thesaurus:evil
  • (of colour): deep, see also Thesaurus:dark colour
  • (conducive to hopelessness): hopeless, negative, pessimistic
  • (lacking progress): unenlightened
  • (relative lack of light): bright, light, lit
  • (of colour): bright, light, pale
Derived terms
Related terms
  • darken
  • darkling
  • darkness

Etymology 2

From Middle English derk, derke, dirke, dyrke, from the adjective (see above), or possibly from an unrecorded Old English *dierce, *diercu (dark, darkness).


dark (usually uncountable, plural darks)

  1. A complete or (more often) partial absence of light.
  2. (uncountable) Ignorance.
    • Till we perceive it by our own understandings, we are as much in the dark, and as void of knowledge, as before.
  3. (uncountable) Nightfall.
  4. A dark shade or dark passage in a painting, engraving, etc.
    • 1695, John Dryden (translator), Observations on the Art of Painting by Charles Alphonse du Fresnoy
      The lights may serve for a repose to the darks, and the darks to the lights.


  • (absence of light): darkness
  • (ignorance): cluelessness, knowledgelessness, unawareness
  • (nightfall): crepusculum, evenfall, mirkning; see also Thesaurus:dusk
Derived terms

Etymology 3

From Middle English derken, from Old English deorcian, from Proto-West Germanic *derkōn.


dark (third-person singular simple present darks, present participle darking, simple past and past participle darked)

  1. (intransitive) To grow or become dark, darken.
  2. (intransitive) To remain in the dark, lurk, lie hidden or concealed.
  3. (transitive) To make dark, darken; to obscure.

See also

  • black
  • shadow


  • k-rad





dark (invariable)

  1. dark (used especially to describe a form of punk music)

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