Definition of dark in English:


Line breaks: dark
Pronunciation: /dɑːk


  • 2(Of a colour or object) not reflecting much light; approaching black in shade: dark green
    More example sentences
    • Shades of dark green, blue and red designs and grand borders are popular designs on a saree.
    • They wear light blue shirts, dark pants and these black arm badges with IP written on them and the flag.
    • The clouds took on a fiery orange hue and the few open patches that led to the blue sky were a dark purple.
  • 2.1(Of someone’s skin, hair, or eyes) brown or black in colour: dark curly hair
    More example sentences
    • She had short dark hair and matching dark eyes and wore black pants with a red tank top under her apron.
    • The dark skinned woman pulled up her sleeve and revealed two scars running up her left wrist.
    • She pulled her dark wavy curls out of her face and anchored her thin frame against Zeeks's side.
    brunette, dark brown, auburn, tawny, copper-coloured, coppery, chestnut, chestnut-coloured, jet-black, sable, ebony; dark-hairedswarthy, sallow, olive, dusky, black, ebony; tanned, bronzed, suntanned, sunburned; dark-skinned
  • 2.2(Of a person) having dark skin, hair, or eyes: a tall, dark girl both my father and I are very dark
    More example sentences
    • The people are dark skinned, their faces pinched, their bodies hunched as though perpetually cold.
    • If a daughter is too dark skinned she may not be able to find a good husband.
    • A dark-complexioned girl is engaged to be married to a dark man much older than her.
  • 4Hidden from knowledge; mysterious: a dark secret
    More example sentences
    • The bright facades of present-day Willemstad conceal the dark secrets of offshore finance.
    • Mothers and pushchairs crowd the OK Laundrette, beside the dark mysteries of the Wizard Tattoo Shop.
    • All three protagonists try to piece the clues together in order to unveil the dark mysteries at work.
  • 4.1 (darkest) • humorous (Of a region) most remote, inaccessible, or uncivilized: he lives somewhere in darkest Essex
    More example sentences
    • Mysterious giant beasts may lurk in the darkest depths of the ocean, making whale-like noises that are baffling scientists, it was disclosed today.
    • She escaped the deepest darkest depths of middle England and having tried out London and New York for size currently resides in Glasgow Scotland.
    • I had banished that vile song to the darkest recesses of my soul, and you had to resurrect it.
  • 4.2 archaic Ignorant; unenlightened: he is dark on certain points of scripture
    More example sentences
    • I'm not just defending the Wii, I'm defending all gaming consoles from ignorant people. Now here's where you can either remain in your dark ignorant state, or give in to the truth.
    • Science, they say, leading mankind to progress, peace, and tranquility, safeguards bright minds from dark, ignorant times.
    • While Christianity claims to have gradually lifted humanity out of dark ignorance of a dark pre-Christian world, the truth is opposite.
  • 5 Phonetics Denoting a velarized form of the sound of the letter l (as in pull in south-eastern English speech). Often contrasted with clear.
    More example sentences
    • English has two allophones for /l/, "light/clearl" and "darkl". I am conducting a study on the distribution of these two allophones.
    • Since L Vocalization is stigmatized, people "moving up" to RP often do not hear the difference between dark L and vocalized L (o), and so substitute light L instead of their vocalized L in words such as pill, milk people.
    • To pronounce the dark 'l' in girl or world, unroll the tongue and press the tip up against the alveolar ridge just behind the teeth.


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  • 2A dark colour or shade, especially in a painting: lights and darks are juxtaposed arbitrarily to create a sense of shallow relief
    More example sentences
    • Brian sees the world in black and white, and Caravaggio painted in lights and darks.
    • Using basic unmixed colors, right next to higher contrasting colors, Kinley adequately communicates darks and lights.
    • Kehoe's broad brushstrokes reduce the surfaces and modeling of her subjects to angular planes of lights and darks.


the darkest hour is just before the dawn

proverb When things seem to be at their worst they are about to start improving.
More example sentences
  • She understood that the harshest suffering precedes the redemption, that the darkest hour is just before the dawn.
  • They say that the darkest hour is just before the dawn and in this case it is true.
  • So take heart, the darkest hour is just before the dawn.

in the dark

In a state of ignorance: the player is still in the dark about his future
More example sentences
  • The reader is not allowed to be in the dark as to why Indonesia became so important, for instance.
  • It also provides a handy pointer to The Camel-Toe Report for anyone still in the dark.
  • Naturally, no more did appear and the American public has been kept in the dark ever since.
unaware of, ignorant of, in ignorance of, oblivious to, uninformed about, unenlightened about, unacquainted with, unconversant with
rare nescient of

keep something dark

British Keep something secret: you’ve kept your plans very dark

a shot (or stab) in the dark

An act whose outcome cannot be foreseen; a guess: their experiments were little more than shots in the dark
More example sentences
  • I'll whisper this in case it is too much of a shot in the dark but I believe West Indies will win at least one Test in England.
  • It is a shot in the dark, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
  • The Oxford Declaration was not a shot in the dark or an isolated incident.



More example sentences
  • The suspect was in a dark short-sleeved shirt, darkish trousers, dark baseball cap with white motif on the front.
  • It's a darkish area, so it needs to be lit up like fireworks.
  • His hair, darkish brown fading to grey, flies upwards in tufts.


adjective ( • literary )
More example sentences
  • Love is like to when rere-mice, too early flush'd by a cat out of a darksome, noisome cave, behold the sun in all its noon glory.
  • I am referring to holy scripture, which seemed darksome because it was not understood… So I sent these lamps to enlighten blind and dense understandings.
  • Bad souls they consign to a darksome, stormy abyss, full of punishments that know no end.


Old English deorc, of Germanic origin, probably distantly related to German tarnen 'conceal'.

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Pronunciation: grəʊˈtɛskəri
grotesque quality or grotesque things collectively