Definition of benighted in English:



  • 1In a state of pitiful or contemptible intellectual or moral ignorance.

    ‘they saw themselves as bringers of culture to poor benighted peoples’
    • ‘Now what was meant, of course, in fairness to the benighted author, is that educated people are statistically disproportionately liberal.’
    • ‘Yet I find little to criticize here, because he does so clearly not in the benighted belief that we have ever really been free of such a pattern but in the hope that we might one day be.’
    • ‘It's a primitive, benighted method of ordering life that is based mostly on coercion and the world would be much better off if all its forms were banned forever.’
    • ‘Since the late nineteenth century, travelers, local colorists, reformers, and even missionaries described the area as an isolated, benighted place populated by a culturally backward people.’
    • ‘That would pretty much set the stage for a generations-long clash of civilizations, with my beloved, sometimes benighted country as the aggressor.’
    • ‘It's a question of internal/external forces; self-determination versus imperialist notions of ‘doing what's best for the benighted savages’.’
    • ‘It is not modesty but experience that makes us loath to suppose that others are benighted if they do not accept the pedagogical advantages of the curriculum we happen to favor.’
    • ‘Seen in this benighted context, the election is as inexplicable as it is marvellous.’
    • ‘Indeed, there's reason to hope that even the most benighted moral equivocators may come to realize that the message is the exact opposite of the one they've been preaching.’
    • ‘Besides suffering through a variety of severe but all-too-common mine accidents in its benighted history, the coalfields of Vancouver Island have also played host to some of B.C.'s most famous activists.’
    • ‘All they could do was build the best possible shelters for themselves, before the rainy season began, while he did his best to ensure their survival and eventual escape from this benighted place.’
    • ‘It would certainly confirm the country's international reputation as a backward and benighted land.’
    • ‘But is it right that our appetites wreak havoc on a country most of us have never been, and where grinding poverty of a kind that's been eliminated in even the most benighted, neglected corners of our own country is as common as it is confining?’
    • ‘The people of Florence are far from considering themselves ignorant and benighted, and yet Brother Savonarola succeeded in persuading them that he held converse with God.’
    • ‘He goes so far as to use the term ‘invincible ignorance,’ which implies that there's no point in arguing with such benighted folk, since their ignorance is invincible.’
    • ‘These are numbers that would have done honor to the state in its darkest, most benighted hour.’
    • ‘Until those central elements of decency and prosperity exist, our nation should help shelter political refugees from this benighted place.’
    • ‘The British politicians who devised the policy of transportation believed they had the monopoly of rational daylight, and thought of Australia as a benighted, morally murky place.’
    • ‘It is a sophisticated political response to a techno-scientific culture he viewed as primitive, destructive, benighted.’
    • ‘And I think, you know, I'd love to see our children and grandchildren get together here a hundred years from now and roll back a tape of this show and say how benighted we were or how right we were.’
    ignorant, unenlightened, uneducated, unschooled, untutored, illiterate, unlettered, unlearned, unscholarly, unread, uninformed, backward, simple
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  • 2Overtaken by darkness.

    ‘a storm developed and we were forced to wait benighted near the summit’
    • ‘He still continued, however, cautiously to progress along the road on which be was benighted, and at length the twinkling of a distant light raised some hope of succour in his heart.’
    • ‘When Mr. Heath, the benighted and storm-delayed traveler, threw back his dripping coat, and seated himself at the invitation of his host, before the blazing fire, Mr. Abbot thought that he had seldom seen a more attractive young man.’
    • ‘“Father,” said Jack, “can you lodge a benighted traveller that has lost his way?"’
    • ‘The forest was also frequented by outlaws, and was a place of great danger to the benighted traveller.’
    • ‘A pair of climbers were benighted in a storm at the top of Royal Arches without overnight gear.’


Late 16th century (in benighted (sense 2)): past participle of archaic benight ‘cover in the darkness of night, obscure’ (see be-, night).