Definition of dark in US English:



  • 1With little or no light.

    ‘it's too dark to see much’
    • ‘When it gets dark the canaries stop singing but at dawn they start again and wake up the guards.’
    • ‘It grew dark, and Burginde pulled open the tarpaulin flap to speak to the drover.’
    • ‘It had been a beautiful, sunny day but even with the extra hour of evening daylight it was getting very dark as we pulled out of Boston onto the Louth road.’
    • ‘Install exterior lights that automatically come on when it gets dark and go off when it's light.’
    • ‘It was just getting dark when he pulled into the parking lot of the Honey Biscuit Hotel and Restaurant.’
    • ‘A man was dragged into a dark car park in Southend town centre and robbed at knifepoint by two thugs.’
    • ‘The edges are darkened and distressed as if they were rescued from a box of letters kept in a dark attic.’
    • ‘Meanwhile I get things organized around the apartment in case we're without power when it gets dark.’
    • ‘Deacon flipped on his bright headlights as he pulled onto a dark and vacant road.’
    • ‘When it gets dark outside, it invariably gets dark inside too.’
    • ‘Do what you have to do early, when it gets dark go to bed then wake up early and complete your homework.’
    • ‘The room was very dark and the only sound was the almost melodical, yet nasal beep of the heart monitor.’
    • ‘Ethan then finally pulled into a dark alley way between a closed restaurant and crafts store.’
    • ‘Oranjestad harbor is well lit if it gets dark before you get there.’
    • ‘I have come to the creek, she said, to shine my flashlight on the animals in the water when it gets dark.’
    • ‘The room was almost completely dark, and no sounds could be heard throughout the entire house.’
    • ‘Where I live, when it gets dark, it is rare for people to go outside unless they are going to buy something!’
    • ‘The room was dark because he pulled the shades on his windows down before he left in the morning.’
    • ‘I've always been like a cave-woman - awake when it's light and asleep as soon as it gets dark.’
    • ‘The room suddenly went dark as the King pulled heavy curtains across the light from the window.’
    black, pitch-black, pitch-dark, inky, jet-black, unlit, unlighted, unilluminated, ill-lit, poorly lit
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    1. 1.1 (of a theater) closed; not in use.
      ‘on Tuesdays he'd wait tables because the theater was dark’
      • ‘The theatre I worked in before this was being refurbished over the summer, and so the dark period was extended.’
      • ‘The theatre's dark today, which is just as well because the police have just cordoned off the top of Roseberry Avenue with red tape.’
      • ‘Because the theatre's dark, it does odd things to the Front of House dept's shifts.’
      • ‘There is no longer a show, the theatre is dark, and The Mirage ironically lives up to its name.’
      • ‘As long as they keep the theaters dark teenagers will attend movies. [Reply to this comment]’
  • 2(of a color or object) not reflecting much light; approaching black in shade.

    ‘dark green’
    • ‘They power dress in stern, cut suits, usually in dark colours such as black, grey or navy.’
    • ‘Members of the Royal Family and their households will wear dark colours and black ties.’
    • ‘Washing is done each day with a light coloured load alternating with a load of dark colours.’
    • ‘The glass front of the store was painted black with slashes of dark colours running though it.’
    • ‘Shades of dark green, blue and red designs and grand borders are popular designs on a saree.’
    • ‘She had done the base coat of black, and was overlapping it with sponged on dark purple.’
    • ‘The man was wearing a navy jumper, light blue shirt, dark blue jacket, grey or black trousers and black shoes.’
    • ‘All shades of purple were displayed in dark hues, mauves, lilacs and magentas.’
    • ‘The clouds took on a fiery orange hue and the few open patches that led to the blue sky were a dark purple.’
    • ‘Tea is no longer just about a cup of dark jasmine tea, served so sweet that it makes your teeth ache.’
    • ‘He was wearing a black peaked cap, dark leather jacket, light coloured trousers.’
    • ‘Nose, ears, and feet are covered with dark sepia hairs and the tail hairs are almost black.’
    • ‘The loss of light also meant that this house was associated with black or very dark colours.’
    • ‘They wear light blue shirts, dark pants and these black arm badges with IP written on them and the flag.’
    • ‘He was wearing a dark coloured baseball cap, dark jacket and blue jeans.’
    • ‘He was wearing a black jacket with white reflection marks, dark blue jeans and trainers.’
    • ‘Thin dark green carpets covered the area, contrasting faintly with the dark colour of the wood.’
    • ‘The sky was now a dark purple rather than the black it had been when they first arrived in the graveyard.’
    • ‘His carpet was a dark shade of green that almost looked black, and his walls were off-white.’
    • ‘Her pelt was a dark tan with lighter streaks around the ribs and on the stomach.’
    1. 2.1 (of someone's skin, hair, or eyes) brown or black in color.
      • ‘She was clearly beautiful, with a slightly dusky skin tone, curly black hair and dark eyes.’
      • ‘To Ciara, she looked like an angel with brown skin, brown eyes and dark hair.’
      • ‘He is a tall Scotsman with dark curly hair, beautiful dark eyes and is almost too handsome.’
      • ‘He was tattooed all over, and had an untidy mane of black hair and flashing dark eyes.’
      • ‘He gave a quick and hesitant smile, and his wavy brown hair covered his dark eyes.’
      • ‘Tall, dark brown hair, very dark eyes that put you on the spot and black clothes.’
      • ‘She pulled her dark wavy curls out of her face and anchored her thin frame against Zeeks's side.’
      • ‘The dark skinned woman pulled up her sleeve and revealed two scars running up her left wrist.’
      • ‘She was about an inch shorter than me, with long black hair, dark eyes, and a sardonic smirk.’
      • ‘She had long brown hair and dark eyes, and Jim really had to work to keep up with her on the slopes.’
      • ‘She was a real beauty with black hair and dark eyes, almost the looks of a gypsy.’
      • ‘He had jet black hair and his dark brown eyes were hidden behind a pair of silver frames.’
      • ‘Another had an abundance of frizzy dark hair, dark eyes and olive skin, she was the shortest of them all.’
      • ‘Behind her stood a guy of about twenty-two with sandy brown hair and dark eyes.’
      • ‘She had short dark hair and matching dark eyes and wore black pants with a red tank top under her apron.’
      • ‘He had blondish brown hair, dark eyes and was chubby, not fat, but chubby.’
      • ‘The dark-haired beauty pulled off her sunglasses, twirling them in her right thumb and index finger.’
      • ‘His tall and gaunt framed, combined with his dark eyes and black hair, made him distrusted.’
      • ‘He was a tall, with black hair and dark eyes; also an athlete, he was quite a tennis player.’
      • ‘He was in his teens from what I saw; he had black hair, dark skin, and deep brown eyes.’
      brunette, dark brown, auburn, tawny, copper-coloured, coppery, chestnut, chestnut-coloured, jet-black, sable, ebony
      swarthy, sallow, olive, dusky, black, ebony
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    2. 2.2 (of a person) having dark skin, hair, or eyes.
      ‘both my father and I are very dark’
      • ‘If a daughter is too dark skinned she may not be able to find a good husband.’
      • ‘He closes his eyes then opens them to see the dark girl walking out the door.’
      • ‘I was the only dark kid in the class and I couldn't play the same Anglo characters as everybody else could.’
      • ‘Almost instantly Rebecca and her stopped screaming and stared at the dark girl.’
      • ‘The girl was dark and bad looking enough for him to know what kind of thing she had abandoned him to do.’
      • ‘I was a bit lost in my identity because Mum's got red hair and Dad's quite dark.’
      • ‘Then it is the turn of a tall dark girl with a Russian name, who glowers at me and says.’
      • ‘Have you got short dark hair?’
      • ‘Physically he was dark, bearded, grey eyed and just under medium height.’
      • ‘The dark girl was an enigma that Nicola knew nothing about, and therefore she intrigued her.’
      • ‘He will be a very dark man, with jet black hair cut very short and he may have an arm band tattoo.’
      • ‘The people are dark skinned, their faces pinched, their bodies hunched as though perpetually cold.’
      • ‘A dark-complexioned girl is engaged to be married to a dark man much older than her.’
      • ‘Why do we have dark people where there's a lot of sun, and light people where there's less sun.’
      • ‘He was a tall, lean, dark man with an ebullient waxed moustache; around his head he wrapped a woolly muffler.’
      • ‘She was a dark girl with almost perfect features and huge, smouldering eyes.’
      • ‘There was one man who, though he was dark, had the most incredible eyes of gold.’
      • ‘A tall, dark man arrived breathlessly, and looked at me with bright eyes.’
      • ‘They were dark, their skin a yellowish brown and their hair black.’
      • ‘She was dark and exotic and not at all like the other girls in school, but destiny intervened.’
    3. 2.3 Served or drunk with only a little or no milk or cream.
      • ‘Allegedly, he was very fond of this rich, dark dessert.’
      • ‘This semisweet chocolate bar is 59% cacao, and thus dark enough to give you your share of delectable antioxidants, but not so dark that you pucker at the chalkiness.’
  • 3(of a period of time or situation) characterized by tragedy, unhappiness, or unpleasantness.

    ‘the dark days of the war’
    • ‘With the departure of Lee Bowyer, Leeds are also attempting to draw a line under a dark period in their history.’
    • ‘The dark period of India's history needs to addressed with grave concern and in its proper perspective.’
    • ‘Italy have suffered a dark period since losing the final of Euro 2000 but are emerging again into the light.’
    • ‘High school, where he was graded for the first time, was a dark period.’
    • ‘It was during the dark days of the BSE crisis that inspired the local man to adapt and diversify to save his future as a farmer.’
    • ‘The three decades of Nicholas's rule came to be regarded as a particularly dark period of Russian history.’
    • ‘In college I went through a dark period, a time when I felt so alone I was sure I would break.’
    • ‘We don't have another play lined up but we've had dark periods before where we've had a lull between productions.’
    • ‘It was a good thing for me to get out of town but it was all a very dark period for me that I then wrote about in Force Majeure.’
    • ‘Something about film noir seems to go hand in hand with this dark period of America's history.’
    • ‘At the beginning of this campaign I said that this is a dark period for the union, but we would come through it and the union would be stronger.’
    • ‘It also draws a neat line under a dark period of his life, which saw him reeling from the deaths of his parents within six months of each other.’
    • ‘When I wrote it I was going through a very dark period of my life, a kind of hiatus if you like.’
    • ‘Clyde Prestowitz told Alison Caldwell that it was a dark day for the World Trade Organisation.’
    • ‘They would not have continued to resist through all the dark days of 1940 and 1941 when Britain stood alone.’
    • ‘The period has often been pictured as a dark era full of persecutions of the Christian peoples.’
    • ‘Only a few months ago they prophesied the advent of a new dark age.’
    • ‘It was a dark period for Szymanowski, during which he was quite unable to believe in himself as a composer.’
    • ‘We've been through a lot together, through dark days and nights and seasons of hope and joy.’
    • ‘It is hoped this will now be the end of a dark period in South African rugby.’
    tragic, disastrous, calamitous, catastrophic, cataclysmic, ruinous, devastating
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    1. 3.1 Gloomily pessimistic.
      ‘a dark vision of the future’
      • ‘Both films also have fairly dark moments, yet still leave you feeling uplifted at the end, and even during some of the darkest parts.’
      • ‘If you've never seen the film and have a taste for esoteric dark comedies, give this one a spin.’
      • ‘Marie also expressed her emotions through dark and disturbing poetry and writings.’
      • ‘Drawing inspiration from pulp fiction, it presents a dark tale of love, sex, violence and loss.’
      • ‘Miller's dark body of work always exposed the American dream as a nightmare.’
      • ‘Saw a Kurosawa movie after a long time. A very dark retelling of an anyway dark Shakespeare drama.’
      • ‘Your new book Dr Sweet… is a dark comedy - what is your favourite comedy film or tv series?’
      • ‘The forest itself is a dark terror of sound and half-seen images.’
      • ‘A folky lament on death and love, it never sounds as dark as its lyrics intend because of tremendous harmonies.’
      gloomy, dismal, pessimistic, negative, defeatist, downbeat, gloom-ridden, cynical, bleak, grim, fatalistic, black, sombre, drab, dreary
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    2. 3.2 (of an expression) angry; threatening.
      ‘Matthew flashed a dark look at her’
      • ‘Arin asked, unaware of how dark her expression had gotten just by asking that much.’
      • ‘Allison shivered at his words and noticed the dark expressions of her two other companions.’
      • ‘Dark brown hair covered her large eyes, hiding the dark expression in her eyes.’
      • ‘The man had sharp blue eyes and a dark expression on his face as he crossed the space between them.’
      • ‘Chris licked his lips and stared up at me with a serious dark expression.’
      • ‘With an expression to rival the dark mood, the Employer marched over to the black chair in a rage.’
      • ‘They were in a deep discussion, with dark, disapproving expressions on their face.’
      • ‘Dark red, the kind that pricks behind your ears when you get angry, the kind that feels like dark rage, tastes of thick metal.’
      • ‘The prince scowled and took on a dark expression that Merlin had not seen before on the cordial coyote.’
      • ‘Yellow eyes glowing vengefully, his expression was hooded, dark and menacing.’
      • ‘He wasn't scowling or had a dark masked expression on his face anymore, he was quiet.’
      • ‘His voice was dark and angry, and filled with an everlasting promise of revenge.’
      • ‘It was an intemperate outburst, but even as he stamped out of the room with a dark glower, his inquisitors were breaking into smiles.’
      • ‘The girls attained dark expressions and each of them started growling slightly.’
      • ‘Ezmo looked shocked for a moment, and then his brow drew together in a dark, brooding frown.’
      • ‘He didn't say anything, a dark expression on his face as he watched his brother.’
      • ‘Brian caught his wrist a hair's breadth away from her cheek with a dark expression.’
      • ‘The dark expression left his face and a trace of coolness lit up in his gray eyes.’
      • ‘He had deep wrinkles in his face and his dark, angry eyes were hidden under thick eyebrows.’
      • ‘An irritated glare adorned his otherwise striking face, dark and morose and very, very angry.’
      moody, brooding, sullen, dour, glum, morose, sulky, frowning, scowling, glowering, angry, forbidding, threatening, ominous
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    3. 3.3 Suggestive of or arising from evil characteristics or forces; sinister.
      ‘so many dark deeds had been committed’
      • ‘How do I address people who feel that the Harry Potter films are too dark and filled with evil and magic and need to be burned?’
      • ‘However, guides still relate stories of the palace's dark deeds with a certain grisly humour.’
      • ‘It is in fact the dark evil of laziness and ignorance disguised as an altruistic urge and that is why you rightly feel anxious!’
      • ‘Is there something dark and sinister about this clown that we can never really understand?’
      • ‘The white light is a spell that will over come the dark forces of evil and destroy it.’
      • ‘There were dark and sinister things in the Dalewoodian nights, things left to fable and myth.’
      • ‘The moor evolves from geological hazard into a metaphor for dark thoughts and evil deeds.’
      • ‘The dog turned around to face the man and growled deep in his throat, a dark sinister sound.’
      • ‘There are those, however, who suggest dark forces have been at work.’
      • ‘She too is evil, dark and wicked and she too will pay the price if she does die.’
      • ‘The deal was that Sishera would become a woman that served under the dark power.’
      • ‘Why is the access to the woods, which is full of dark evil, located behind the school?’
      • ‘Those who chose the latter started connecting the owl to dark forces, evil forces, and death.’
      • ‘The most basic statement of the tradition is that there is a double mystery, the dark mystery of evil and the bright mystery of goodness.’
      • ‘Seduction Cinema serves this dark tale of supernatural seduction on a silver platter.’
      • ‘For some time now, taking hormone replacement therapy has been almost synonymous with embracing the dark forces of evil.’
      • ‘A movie which is about dark power and evil, it uses the most powerful of Indian myths to its advantage.’
      • ‘Now he was taking a more proactive stance in his fight against evil and the dark forces.’
      • ‘Shadow magic was evil magic it was dark and could do things normal magic could not.’
      • ‘I find it difficult to believe that he could just switch allegiances as easily as that, there must be a dark sinister plot.’
      evil, wicked, sinful, immoral, wrong, morally wrong, wrongful, bad, iniquitous
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  • 4Hidden from knowledge; mysterious.

    ‘a dark secret’
    • ‘She had dark hair with dark eyes, and a dark personality, hence her code name.’
    • ‘I pushed the memory of my dad to the back of my head, as far as it would go into the dark depths of the past.’
    • ‘The play, which looks at first as if it might be just cute and entertaining, soon begins to hint at dark secrets.’
    • ‘The two become entangled in conversation, revealing deep, dark secrets about themselves.’
    • ‘What dark secrets are going to be uncovered about El Presidente by 2030?’
    • ‘But the pirates have a dark secret of their own, since they have been cursed after stealing a bewitched pile of treasure.’
    • ‘He seldom smiles; he gave this interview because he wants to purge himself of his deep and dark secrets.’
    • ‘It sounds more or less exactly as you would expect it to sound, i.e. dark, brooding, melodic and quite lovely.’
    • ‘A limerick novelist has just launched her second novel, a tale of a bored housewife with a dark secret.’
    • ‘The bright facades of present-day Willemstad conceal the dark secrets of offshore finance.’
    • ‘But his power and wealth hide a dark secret, which when revealed brings his world tumbling down around him.’
    • ‘Various forms of paganism offer us ‘deep and dark knowledge’ - but it is all confusion.’
    • ‘And like Senay, the audience also learn in due course that Okwe has some dark secrets of his own.’
    • ‘But dolphins have a dark secret - their nasty habit of ganging up on porpoises and headbutting them to death.’
    • ‘She's going to share a dark secret that could help others who've gone through the same ordeal.’
    • ‘It's time to probe once again into the deep, dark recesses of the criminal mind.’
    • ‘But her latest book, The Wish House is a return to her first love: the scare story, the tale of dark secrets.’
    • ‘But she was hiding a dreadful, dark secret - one that she felt she could not share, not even with her family.’
    • ‘She would not look away from it, she would not look into the dark depths of the Prince's eyes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So prayer comes from these mysterious, deep, dark places, and where does prayer go to?’
    • ‘I didn't know if he'd still want to see me if he knew my dark secret and I resolved not to tell him.’
    • ‘Directed by Norman Alexander, the show is a British farce of a dark murder mystery.’
    mysterious, secret, hidden, concealed, veiled, unrevealed, covert, clandestine
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    1. 4.1archaic Ignorant; unenlightened.
      ‘he is dark on certain points of scripture’
      • ‘To some people he is a small light of truth in a wilderness of dark ignorance. What he is you will have to decide for your self.’
      • ‘While Christianity claims to have gradually lifted humanity out of dark ignorance of a dark pre-Christian world, the truth is opposite.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 5Phonetics
    Denoting a velarized form of the sound of the letter l as it sounds at the end of a word or before another consonant (as in full or bulk in most accents of English).

    Often contrasted with clear
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The /l/ sound that appears at the ends of words (actually, in coda position of syllables) is referred to as ‘dark /l/’ and is transcribed as /l with a squiggle.’
    • ‘In the recording out of the nine opportunities for Janet to use the dark /l/, each time she used clear /l/ just as Dublin speakers do.’


  • 1the darkThe absence of light in a place.

    ‘Carolyn was sitting in the dark’
    ‘he's scared of the dark’
    • ‘Alex ground her teeth and sat up, swung her legs over the side of the bed and sat there glaring at him in the dark.’
    • ‘Maybe you drive with no lights in the dark in case you shine them on somebody coming the other way.’
    • ‘I sat, in the dark, for all I knew I was in a very lit room but all I could see was darkness.’
    • ‘It is hard to give the benefit of any doubt to someone who dressed in the dark.’
    • ‘There are signs on the opposite side to the disabled bays but I didn't see them in the dark.’
    • ‘He's had a nightlight for a few months now - we gave in to his growing unease of being in the dark.’
    • ‘It is thought that Rowan ran through fencing in the dark and slithered into the ditch.’
    • ‘They were both special forces pilots, an elite who knew how to fly low, fast and in the dark.’
    • ‘She was surprised that the man didn't even stumble on the thick underbrush in the dark.’
    • ‘She was trying to find her way to the loo in the dark, and she just sort of crashed into it.’
    • ‘It was quite normal to go into someone's study and find two people sitting on a bed together in the dark.’
    • ‘Seeds were placed on moist filter paper in Petri dishes in the dark to germinate.’
    • ‘One night some kids came past in the dark and on bikes and nearly knocked me over.’
    • ‘Plants at the flowering stage were placed in the dark for one night before each experiment.’
    • ‘We skied for too long, missed the train down and were forced to trudge to the top of a mountain in the dark.’
    • ‘I went outside and found Ross sitting in the dark, the sound of crickets was all around.’
    • ‘I did not like having to park my car in the dark, with all the crime I hear about at the hospital.’
    • ‘She would often find Arthur sitting alone somewhere in the dark for that was what he often did now.’
    • ‘Parents in Oldham are now being urged to be on their guard and not let their children out alone in the dark.’
    • ‘That scene pops into my head every time I have to get into my car on a foggy winter morning in the dark.’
    darkness, blackness, absence of light, gloom, gloominess, dimness, dullness, murk, murkiness, shadowiness, shadow, shade, shadiness, dusk, twilight, gloaming
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    1. 1.1 Nightfall.
      ‘I'll be home before dark’
      • ‘In morning dark, Bradson was woken by the mosque singer, as he had been each morning he had been in this Sasak village.’
      • ‘Working from dawn until dark can become the breeding ground toward poor health in both mind and body.’
      • ‘That eerie morning dark only exists on rainy mornings with the curtains drawn.’
      • ‘This pyrotechnical extension to the Great Wall glowed eerily under dark of night as the fire climbed up and over dunes.’
      night, night-time, darkness, hours of darkness
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  • 2A dark color or shade, especially in a painting.

    • ‘My uncle turns, glances at me, the sun from behind the clouds casting lights and darks across his lean face - sharp cheekbones, high forehead.’
    • ‘In using the work of Caravaggio, I show how he, in his Baroque manner, used diagonals and foreshortening to bring viewers into the picture plane and engaged us visually by leading us in and around the lights and darks.’
    • ‘Contrast between lights and darks was a bit fuzzy, not doing justice to the fine cinematography.’
    • ‘This is the explanation for the pattern of underpainting in simple areas of pure tone, pure lights and darks.’
    • ‘Before I sliced my thumb I was working on a grandly chiaroscuro-ed subject, of an alleyway in London, seeking to get the rich darks and the lucid lights I am coming to think of as my favourite subject and my ultimate challenge.’
    • ‘The contrast between darks and lights is so spectacular that you can actually differentiate how Buddy's five o'clock shadow changes between the old and new scenes.’
    • ‘Rather than dwelling in Hopper's creepy shadows, Turner contrasts his darks with halos of golden sunlight.’
    • ‘Kehoe's broad brushstrokes reduce the surfaces and modeling of her subjects to angular planes of lights and darks.’
    • ‘Full of jagged darks, glaring lights and Joan gun-toting in furs, this movie is the pinnacle of what the kids are calling ‘lady-noir’.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His great assets are originality of approach and a sure, often dramatic, control of lights and darks.’
    • ‘Essentially these qualities were a roughness and variety of texture, and an intricacy of forms, combined with darks and lights bringing them to life.’
    • ‘Tucked away in an unassuming room at the Ferens Art Gallery, the 19th century landscape is without doubt the work of a master, the lights and darks interwoven to weave a moving tapestry in oils.’
    • ‘Turning his attention to his more immediate surroundings, White found that he was seated on a very soft fur skin of some sort - a dappled pattern of lights and darks.’
    • ‘The triangles of fabric are set in an over all pattern with the lights and darks playing against each other to show the prints to best advantage.’
    • ‘The drawings are strong examples of a dramatic technique, and they encourage the viewer to look beyond the subject to the artistic play of lights and darks and the compositional design of the picture plane.’
    • ‘Lights and darks, reflections and shadows as found on the surface of moving bodies of water, are the subjects of Elyn Zimmerman's large scale, black-and-white drawings.’
    • ‘Squint your eyes and see the landscape as a series of shapes, lights and darks, as opposed to seeing every detail.’
    • ‘Lights and darks are evenly blended with edge enhancement and grain kept to the bare minimum.’
    darkness, blackness, absence of light, gloom, gloominess, dimness, dullness, murk, murkiness, shadowiness, shadow, shade, shadiness, dusk, twilight, gloaming
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  • the darkest hour is just before the dawn

    • proverb When things seem to be at their worst they are about to start improving.

      • ‘My theme was that the darkest hour is just before the dawn, and though it does seem to be the darkest hour, we have to have some Resurrection hope and keep learning from our partners and walking forwards.’
      • ‘Remember 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.’
      • ‘She understood that the harshest suffering precedes the redemption, that the darkest hour is just before the dawn.’
      • ‘So take heart, the darkest hour is just before the dawn.’
  • in the dark

    • In a state of ignorance about something.

      ‘we're clearly being kept in the dark about what's happening’
      • ‘I would not exactly call him a liar for keeping us all in the dark about his plans.’
      • ‘Naturally, no more did appear and the American public has been kept in the dark ever since.’
      • ‘So, do you know someone being kept in the dark because they cannot see the printed word?’
      • ‘The defender claimed he took the decision to keep his gaffer in the dark for all the right reasons.’
      • ‘By the fourth I was utterly alone and totally in the dark about where I was, so to speak.’
      • ‘As to anything concrete about the decade unfolding he's as much in the dark as the rest of us.’
      • ‘She claimed the working group had been kept in the dark about much of the planning for the event.’
      • ‘It goes on to claim that many companies are still in the dark about the changes.’
      • ‘They are a bit in the dark and they are a bit worried about what that information might be.’
      • ‘The vast majority of health workers have been left completely in the dark about what is on offer.’
      • ‘Union officials have been critical of company bosses for keeping staff in the dark.’
      • ‘The reader is not allowed to be in the dark as to why Indonesia became so important, for instance.’
      • ‘I'm in the dark about many of the scientific facts and I would like to know a lot more.’
      • ‘Keeping them in the dark, even as a way of protecting them, only fuels their fears.’
      • ‘The public may not be entirely in the know, but it isn't entirely in the dark, either.’
      • ‘It was so much easier then for people in power to influence what we got to know and what we were kept in the dark about.’
      • ‘Northern Spirit made a bad situation much worse by keeping passengers in the dark.’
      • ‘It also provides a handy pointer to The Camel-Toe Report for anyone still in the dark.’
      • ‘For how much longer will the people of Bedford put up with being kept in the dark?’
      • ‘Both Mr Scholar and Mr Markham had the sense that they were being kept in the dark.’
      unaware of, ignorant of, in ignorance of, oblivious to, uninformed about, unenlightened about, unacquainted with, unconversant with
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  • keep something dark

    • Keep something secret from other people.

      ‘I asked Ann to keep my identity dark’
  • a shot (or stab) in the dark

    • An act whose outcome cannot be foreseen; a mere guess.

      • ‘Everything else is guess-work: a stab in the dark.’
      • ‘The Oxford Declaration was not a shot in the dark or an isolated incident.’
      • ‘But, I'd bet everyone here at Pro Football Weekly and any self-respecting football writer at any other worthy publication hopefully knows predictions are a shot in the dark.’
      • ‘This may be a shot in the dark, but to me I see the emerging trend and I see it in one capitalist icon; Wal-Mart.’
      • ‘A bit of a shot in the dark this one, but you never know…’
      • ‘If it was a shot in the dark, it was uncannily accurate: there are many common Irish names, most of which would come more readily to the tongue.’
      • ‘Just a shot in the dark really, I didn't expect it to work…’
      • ‘Those were all questions that Airen couldn't rightly answer without guessing or taking a stab in the dark, but at least Airen tried.’
      • ‘Even if you are truly ambitious, it's a mistake to apply for jobs which are too much of a shot in the dark.’
      • ‘It is a shot in the dark, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.’
      • ‘She knew it was a shot in the dark, and Nic probably figured that the conversation was heading that way.’
      • ‘I know this is a shot in the dark, but, why don't you go out with him?’
      • ‘So it is really just a stab in the dark sometimes from the Met Office.’
      • ‘I took a stab in the dark: probably Belinda, from the description Attila'd given me.’
      • ‘Liz thought he was vaguely familiar and took a stab in the dark where she had seen him from.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘Lemmie guess’ said Jamie ‘and I'm just taking a stab in the dark here, but are you a cheerleader?’’
      • ‘Here again, you should gather as much information as possible instead of taking a shot in the dark.’
      • ‘Granted, this is all a bit of a shot in the dark, but there is a third possibility.’
      • ‘Banning smoking in bars and restaurants is unprecedented, so in many ways it's a shot in the dark.’
      guess, random guess, wild guess, surmise, supposition, conjecture, speculation, theorizing
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Old English deorc, of Germanic origin, probably distantly related to German tarnen ‘conceal’.