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

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



From Middle English derk, from Old English deorc (dark, obscure, gloomy, without light, dreadful, horrible, sad, cheerless, sinister, wicked), from Proto-Germanic *derkaz (dark), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰerg- (dim, dull), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰer- (dull, dirty).


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


dark (comparative darker, superlative darkest)

  1. Having an absolute or (more often) relative lack of light.
    • They burned the old gun that used to stand in the dark corner up in the garret, close to the stuffed fox that always grinned so fiercely. Perhaps the reason why he seemed in such a ghastly rage was that he did not come by his death fairly. And why else was he put away up there out of sight?—and so magnificent a brush as he had too.
    1. (of a source of light) Extinguished.
    2. Deprived of sight; blind.
      • (Can we date this quote?) John Evelyn
        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. Hidden, secret, obscure.
    • 1603-1606, William Shakespeare, King Lear, i 1
      Meantime we shall express our darker purpose
    1. Not clear to the understanding; not easily through; obscure; mysterious; hidden.
      • (Can we date this quote?) William Shakespeare
        What's your dark meaning, mouse, of this light word?
      • 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.
      • (Can we date this quote?) John Shairp
        the dark problems of existence
    2. (gambling, of race horses) Having racing capability not widely known.
  4. Without moral or spiritual light; sinister, malign.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
      Left him at large to his own dark designs.
  5. Conducive to hopelessness; depressing or bleak.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Thomas Macaulay
      A deep melancholy took possession of him, and gave a dark tinge to all his views of human nature.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Washington Irving
      There is, in every true woman's heart, a spark of heavenly fire, which beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.
  6. Lacking progress in science or the arts; said of a time period.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Sir John Denham
      The age wherein he lived was dark, but he / Could not want light who taught the world to see.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Arthur Hallam
      The tenth century used to be reckoned by mediaeval historians as the darkest part of this intellectual night.
  7. 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



dark (usually uncountable, plural darks)

  1. A complete or (more often) partial absence of light.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Shakespeare
      Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out.
  2. (uncountable) Ignorance.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Shakespeare
      Look, what you do, you do it still i' th' dark.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Locke
      Till we perceive 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.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Dryden
      The lights may serve for a repose to the darks, and the darks to the lights.


Derived terms

See also

  • black
  • shadow


  • k-rad





dark (invariable)

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

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This article based on an article on Wiktionary. The list of authors can be seen in the page history there. The original work has been modified. This article is distributed under the terms of this license.