Meaning of “dark” in the English Dictionary

"dark" in British English

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uk /dɑːk/ us /dɑːrk/

dark adjective (WITHOUT LIGHT)

A2 with little or no light:

It was too dark to see much.
What time does it get dark in the summer?
Our bedroom was very dark until we put a larger window in.

A1 nearer to black than white in colour:

dark blue/green
dark clouds
She has dark hair.
He was tall, dark (= with black/brown hair) and handsome.

More examples

  • The sun's going down and it'll be dark soon.
  • The room was so dark, I had to feel my way along the wall to the door.
  • The flame above the oil well flared up into the dark sky.
  • I had to grope my way up the dark stairs.
  • She hated the cold dark days of winter.
noun [ U ] uk /ˈdɑːk.nəs/ us /ˈdɑːrk.nəs/


  • Driving through the total darkness was a slightly surreal experience.
  • I could hear him blundering around in the darkness.
  • Pupils contract in bright light, and dilate in darkness.
  • Suddenly all the lights went out and the house was shrouded in darkness.
  • I could just discern a figure in the darkness.


The city centre was plunged into darkness by the power cut.


uk /dɑːk/ us /dɑːrk/
the dark

More examples

  • He left very early and had to dress in the dark.
  • Her eyes slowly adjusted to the dark.
  • I found the right coin in the dark by touch.
  • I'm terrified of the dark.
  • We could hear her stumbling about/around the bedroom in the dark.

B1 the fact of there being no light somewhere:

Cats can see in the dark.
I've always been afraid of the dark.
before/after dark

B1 before/after the sun has gone down:

It isn't safe to leave the house after dark.
I want to be home before dark.


(Definition of “dark” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"dark" in American English

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darkadjective [ -er/-est only ]

us /dɑrk/

dark adjective [ -er/-est only ] (WITHOUT LIGHT)

with little or no light, or having little brightness:

It was too dark to see much of anything.
What time does it get dark in the summer?

Dark colors have less white in them:

a dark blue dress
dark hair/eyes

dark adjective [ -er/-est only ] (SAD)

unhappy or sad; gloomy:

The report contains dark predictions about the future.

dark adjective [ -er/-est only ] (EVIL)

evil or threatening:

He gave me a dark look when I criticized his work.
noun [ U ] us /ˈdɑrk·nəs/

The city was plunged into darkness by the power blackout.

darknoun [ U ]

us /dɑrk/

dark noun [ U ] (ABSENCE OF LIGHT)

the absence of light:

Does eating carrots really help you to see in the dark?
She arrived home well before/after dark (= before/after the sun had gone down).


(Definition of “dark” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)