Definition of darkness in US English:



  • 1The partial or total absence of light.

    ‘the office was in darkness’
    • ‘They lay there, in the partial darkness, the only light being the moonlight through the tin slits in her blinds.’
    • ‘But the lift stopped between floors, and the lights went off - we were plunged into total darkness.’
    • ‘Stepping carefully from the end of the tunnel into near total darkness Reed followed a pinprick of light.’
    • ‘Night fell in full force, and they were left in total darkness, the only light being from the moon above.’
    • ‘After being in total darkness for three hours, the light is stunning.’
    • ‘The water is tannic, containing a brown-green stain which blocks out the light; below 10m, you're in total darkness.’
    • ‘All the stations are practically in darkness & lights are only strong enough for the porters etc. to just see what they are doing.’
    • ‘As he turned off the engine, and then the parking lights, Andrew was enveloped in almost total darkness.’
    • ‘Suddenly, the lights shut off, throwing the room into total darkness.’
    • ‘The bottomless pit is the earth in total darkness with no light from the sun, every island destroyed, the earth's surface broken up.’
    • ‘The water disappeared with a mildly worrying groaning noise and the lights went out, leaving the non-windowed bathroom in total darkness.’
    • ‘WHEN I finally arrived at Nanxi River, everything was in darkness except for the light cast by street lamps and the stars above.’
    • ‘It was a bright white light that appeared to come out of total darkness.’
    • ‘In the November darkness numerous candles were lit and placed around the entrance of the decaying art deco building as Ms Vine and her acolytes gathered around.’
    • ‘It tries to avoid both strong light and total darkness.’
    • ‘They were flown in total darkness without lights and reference points.’
    • ‘The interior of the house was in total darkness, the only source of light coming from a lamp hanging from the back porch.’
    • ‘Marin flipped off the light switch, leaving the room bathed in total darkness, but for the soft light of a glowing nightlight in the corner.’
    • ‘Now, if this bird were to fly over your head, Larry, three inches in the total darkness, you would never even know it flew over your head.’
    • ‘They made their way down, in total darkness, until the gray light began to present itself.’
    dark, blackness, absence of light, gloom, gloominess, dimness, dullness, murk, murkiness, shadowiness, shadow, shade, shadiness, dusk, twilight, gloaming
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    1. 1.1 Night.
      ‘they began to make camp before darkness fell’
      • ‘For four days after Katrina hit, the city of New Orleans fell into complete darkness after sunset.’
      • ‘The planes have been landing under the cover of darkness, at night.’
      • ‘In return, he slept with them in the long winter nights of deep darkness, when the temperatures plummeted.’
      • ‘The kingdom had fallen silent as the darkness of night filled the sky.’
      • ‘The three-day Leeds Festival kicked off with some of the world's loudest bands - but no serious trouble before darkness fell last night.’
      • ‘When darkness fell on the second night they scaled the wall of their compound, jumped over unseen and walked through a bustling market place before escaping into the jungle.’
      • ‘The men later move to the porch when darkness falls, apparently taking advantage of the cool night weather.’
      • ‘As there are no street-lights, they often walk at night in darkness, risking their lives.’
      • ‘Though it was night and darkness had fallen, she could still make out one building, blazing like hellfire.’
      • ‘The darkness of the night erupted into an amber sunrise as the boulder held back the sudden blast of flames.’
      • ‘In the evening, darkness fell early, and the chill in the air signified the onset of fall.’
      • ‘That night they stopped and made camp just before the impending darkness fell over them for the night.’
      • ‘Rather it kept itself to itself but it was there in the early morning, in the mist, and it was there late in the evening just as darkness was falling.’
      • ‘Police called off co-ordinated searches for the men last night as darkness fell.’
      • ‘As darkness fell that summer evening, a none-too-subtle rustling was seen in the trees and bushes at the edge of our camp site.’
      • ‘The darkness of the night is offset by the full moon and the traditional ahals are lit at every traditional home.’
      • ‘As darkness fell the following night, the same operation was repeated, netting an additional 84 arrests.’
      • ‘The main school building and a nearby pre-fab were broken into under the cover of darkness on Friday night last.’
      • ‘Our little party arrived in the bay in darkness last night, from Tobermory harbour.’
      • ‘Long they fought, after the dying sun had fallen from the sky, into the endless darkness of the long night.’
      night, night-time, dark, hours of darkness
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    2. 1.2 The quality of being dark in color.
      ‘the darkness of his jacket’
      • ‘Her hair was pulled back into a tight high ponytail; her hair was also streaked with blond and red over the darkness of her natural dark brown.’
      • ‘Now the correct colour and degree of darkness have been restored.’
      • ‘The lightness or darkness of a color affects whether it can absorb or reflect heat and light.’
      dark, blackness, absence of light, gloom, gloominess, dimness, dullness, murk, murkiness, shadowiness, shadow, shade, shadiness, dusk, twilight, gloaming
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  • 2Wickedness or evil.

    ‘the forces of darkness’
    • ‘And we hold you up in pride as our symbol in the fight of Good against the forces of darkness and evil.’
    • ‘This statement undoubtedly means that the angels are ruled, controlled, and dominated by darkness and wickedness until the judgement day.’
    • ‘This awakening symbolises the triumph of good, winning against the evil forces of darkness that are represented by the winter.’
    • ‘In some contexts, black represents darkness, evil, death, and defilement.’
    • ‘One has an awful feeling that the forces of darkness are going to win here.’
    • ‘Errand's contest between humanity and the forces of darkness is one of the seminal dance/theater portraits of the age.’
    • ‘The Bible has a lot to say about darkness - about human wickedness and savagery and indifference.’
    • ‘I don't want to sound like a preacher, but there is no way that this can continue and I for one am not going to bend over to these forces of darkness.’
    • ‘The enemy is alien, the forces of darkness rather than one's own kind.’
    • ‘Those qualities - darkness and humanness - would become common themes in his work.’
    • ‘The hero triumphs, finds himself a good woman, and defeats the forces of darkness.’
    • ‘The reaction to the show at the time was that many people phoned the police and warned them that the forces of darkness had been unleashed upon the nation.’
    • ‘It scared her the way she would crave that darkness, the wickedness, the evil forces.’
    • ‘Stephen Lewis speaks to the exorcist whose fight against the forces of darkness reaches the nation's TV screens tonight.’
    • ‘One can only marvel at the fiendish and diabolical powers of darkness under Hillary's wicked command.’
    • ‘He grows up in a secret government agency, being educated and trained as a defender against the forces of darkness.’
    • ‘The only way to unlock the evil powers of Bos Kreuz was to let the evil and darkness of the sword corrupt you and let it take hold of your soul.’
    • ‘It will be like a spiritual spring clean, and nothing of darkness or evil will dwell in there again.’
    • ‘This classic meditation on the forces of darkness and the struggle to contain them makes the heart glad and the nerves tingle.’
    • ‘The gothic culture leads young, susceptible minds into an imagined world of evil, darkness, and violence.’
    evil, wickedness, corruption, sin, sinfulness, iniquity, immorality, devilry, the devil, hell
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    1. 2.1 Unhappiness, distress, or gloom.
      ‘moments of darkness were rare’
      • ‘As the night falls, darkness vanquishes his faculties and he yearns for some safe haven to hide therein.’
      • ‘Only wisdom, rationality and compassion will deliver us from this spiraling descent to the final moment of darkness.’
      • ‘Szentkuthy stood as a beacon in this darkness of misery and cruelty.’
      • ‘He could keep them, had kept them there with only the faint shadows colouring his thoughts with darkness, but not yet, not now.’
      • ‘May its vision and hope sustain us in our moments of darkness.’
      • ‘Not all elements of Tent City life are shrouded in gloom and darkness, however.’
      • ‘He looks away, silent for a moment, then recounts the weeks of darkness and pain administered by hard-nosed soldiers.’
      • ‘The Russian government was a constant shadow in the corner, always lurking, always promising darkness and misery.’
      • ‘How were things going, I asked him, putting on a show of cheerfulness, hoping that he was seeing some ray of light in the present darkness?’
      • ‘There are moments of impenetrable psychotic darkness, followed swiftly by wry humor.’
      • ‘He could only think of the future, gloom and darkness without her.’
      • ‘The songs on Mobilize are relatively unremarkable but Phillips' voice has the ability to evoke thoughts of darkness, gloom and ecstasy.’
      • ‘What I wanted was darkness, unhappiness… I thought of giving Xander a call back.’
      • ‘Like her inspiration, Billie Holliday, her voice has the power to create beauty out of moments and times of darkness.’
      • ‘Depression is the result of all these hidden sadnesses, darkness, and feelings of guilt that have been buried deeply in the heart.’
      • ‘Fraser, for her part, has certainly come through the darknesses of three years ago.’
      • ‘One also should know one's own limitations… There is so much misery and darkness.’
      • ‘Besieged by the headlines, he sits isolated in his own dejected box of darkness, looking like the face of mourning America.’
      • ‘While Willow going dark is interesting temporarily, Buffy's depression and flirting with darkness is much more interesting.’
      • ‘Just the name - borough of crows! - suggests darkness and gloom.’
    2. 2.2 Secrecy or mystery.
      ‘they drew a veil of darkness across the proceedings’
      • ‘His darkness and mystery were personified in the character being a Vampiric elf.’
      • ‘It was a typically sunny February afternoon in Delhi, but I felt a cloud of impenetrable darkness.’
      • ‘It is all calm and quiet and every where a mysterious silence, a terrifying darkness and death-like silence.’
      • ‘A black veil of darkness comes over her face as she holds onto the desk for support.’
      • ‘We are naive, in a certain sense; our existence is veiled in darkness, unarticulated.’
      • ‘And the story's darkness and moral ambiguity increase the film's power and appeal.’
      • ‘He asks that we lift the veil and cast out the darkness.’
      • ‘Haynes gives Frank little interior life and casts him into the darkness, trapped in a life of secrecy.’
      • ‘Reluctantly, the girl plunged herself back into her world of darkness and blind uncertainty.’
      • ‘This is what she wanted, but the thought of what she might find out was a huge darkness of uncertainty before her.’
      • ‘He closed his eyes tiredly and scenes from the night that changed his life seemed to have played itself in the unfathomed darkness of his mind.’
      • ‘His arrival was shrouded in darkness and secrecy.’
      • ‘There is energy and mischief, but it is always countered by mystery and darkness.’
      secrecy, obscurity, ambiguity, ambiguousness, uncertainty, impenetrability, vagueness, nebulousness
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    3. 2.3 Lack of spiritual or intellectual enlightenment; ignorance.
      ‘his accomplishments shone in a world of darkness’
      • ‘It's not true the world's oldest continent was merely an area of darkness that submissively awaited enlightenment.’
      • ‘The reason for the veil is the spiritual darkness of the human condition.’
      • ‘Science and Reason were the new colossi which would sweep aside medieval superstition that kept us in darkness and ignorance.’
      • ‘Now that's an ancient account of one person's journey from moral and spiritual darkness to faith in the Christian God.’
      • ‘The Holy land of India was in the throes of spiritual darkness.’
      • ‘While the Byzantine Empire was flourishing, western Europe languished in spiritual and cultural darkness.’
      • ‘As the conventional story goes, once upon a time the West slumbered in intellectual darkness.’
      • ‘The tamasic category includes meat and is attributed to a state of darkness, ignorance, lethargy and inactivity.’
      • ‘Like most of the liberals they thought of Protestantism as the first step on the way from medieval darkness to enlightenment.’
      • ‘My friend might simply be colluding with me in my darkness, in my ignorance, in a kind of co-dependent relationship.’
      • ‘It is ironic that these years of intense activity and growth were also years of spiritual darkness for Jane.’
      • ‘Yet in what darkness, what dense ignorance, was the mental battle fought!’
      • ‘We dance out our lives across darkness and light.’
      • ‘Can one colour adequately depict the twists and turns of fate, the moments of chance and mis-chance, the shades of light and darkness that have shaped your destiny?’
      • ‘Today this world is covered with spiritual darkness crime violence, vice cheating, lying, stealing, killing.’
      • ‘A Russian proverb says that education is light; lack of education is darkness.’
      • ‘We are fast drifting into an era of great spiritual darkness!’
      • ‘You were called out of spiritual deadness and sinful darkness by mercy, through mercy, and for mercy.’
      • ‘For him, the tribes he encounters on the banks of the Niger live in spiritual darkness.’
      • ‘Those states in which the results of karma are perceived or enjoyed are in fact the states of darkness, characterized by ignorance.’