dark·​ness ˈdärk-nəs How to pronounce darkness (audio)
: the quality or state of being dark: such as
: the total or near total absence of light
There was almost no light when he opened his eyes again. The darkness of night was thick and for a moment he began to panic again. Gary Paulsen
: the quality of being dark in shade or color
the darkness of the old wooden floor
the darkness of these blues and greens
: dark color or colors
In O'Donnell's paintings, darkness pre-dominates. If there are bright colors, they are painted over a deep-hued ground. Richard Kalina
: the quality of being dark in complexion
Few people know the isolation Owens endured during his childhood in Alexander City, Ala. Other kids teased him mercilessly for the darkness of his skin and his beanpole physique. Jeffri Chadiha
: a gloomy or depressed state or tone
I'm not suicidal, clinically depressed, or bipolar, but I am subject to mood swings. … I've tried a number of different mental techniques, mostly prayer, visualization, and meditation, but nothing has worked to lighten my darkness. Will Manley
And the other darkness was a tremendous sorrow, a deep sadness that her mother was dead and that the princess could, now, only talk to her in her dreams. Kate DiCamillo
What, I wondered, did the good man of the cloth make of the reckless humor, the anger and the darkness of those late works? Russell Banks
: evil
From the same source he drew the picture of a heavenly visitor, a god who comes to earth to impart true knowledge … and save humanity from the powers of darkness. J. Louis Martyn
: a lack of knowledge or enlightenment
In 1492, the intellectual darkness that shrouded Europe for centuries was slowly, almost grudgingly lifting. Bob Fisher

Word History


Middle English derknesse, going back to Old English deorcnysse, from deorc dark entry 1 + -nysse -ness

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of darkness was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near darkness

Cite this Entry

“Darkness.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/darkness. Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

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