Definition of dusky in US English:


adjectiveduskiest, duskier

  • 1Darkish in color.

    ‘dusky red’
    ‘a dusky complexion’
    • ‘Colour is important from dusky pastels through to the darkest hues.’
    • ‘Its paints are quite chalky, which gives a softness that means you could venture into greens or dusky reds without making the hallway feel dark.’
    • ‘The crunch leaves of autumn had shrivelled and the sun was a lazy, dusky peach colour.’
    • ‘We are standing in a spacious kitchen painted a dusky pink colour that, were it a lipstick or nail varnish, would be called Plum Beautiful or Berry Sorbet.’
    • ‘It's all dusky reds and yellows, shag-headed battle royales, exploding tanks, and getting up the next day to relive it on the playground.’
    • ‘The dusky red grass grew in abundance, thicker and shorter than before.’
    • ‘They were concerned about her dusky complexion and how that would affect her prospects in landing a good catch in the marriage market.’
    • ‘Walking slowly towards him in the dusky red twilight was the last man he really needed to see now.’
    • ‘Dead muscle is dusky in colour, shows little tendency to bleed, and does not contract to forceps pressure.’
    • ‘Organic tones predominate - pond greens and dusky browns mixed with occasional violets and reds.’
    • ‘The flowers are big, bold and abundant, and they come in several colors - pinks, purples, dusky reds, white, pale green and even some yellows.’
    • ‘She feels that Malayalis, with their dusky complexion, stand a good chance in modelling.’
    • ‘The old cafes are still local favorites, but now it's also possible to watch a dusky red sunset filtered through a mellow golden Chardonnay at several very good restaurants.’
    • ‘The lesions are bright to dusky red and reach up to 1.5 cm.’
    • ‘It is similar to the outdoors Red Hot Poker but its colour, a dusky pink, is much less aggressive.’
    • ‘Toulouse is known as La Ville Rouge (the red city) because of the dusky red hue of most buildings in the city centre; very pretty it is too.’
    • ‘The chipped off-white of the wall behind her stood out starkly against her unusual dusky complexion and tan-and-green attire.’
    • ‘Day was fast giving way to dusk as the sun quickly made its descent, leaving behind a sky full of dusky pinks and reds.’
    • ‘The colour combination of pale bill, dusky red tail, red on face and red under wings distinguishes the parrot from lorikeets.’
    • ‘This room is decorated in dusky pink colour with another sash window.’
    1. 1.1dated Used in euphemistic or poetic reference to black or other dark-skinned people.
      ‘a dusky Moorish maiden’
      • ‘As a small crowd gathered to watch the dusky maiden play a few hands of blackjack, I asked one of the crowd whether she was a film-star or a Kiwi pop musician.’
      • ‘I wandered about tripping over palm roots and bumping into dusky maidens in my fit of jet-lag and bliss, before falling asleep among the other bodies and bright cushions.’
      • ‘He was probably off to meet the dusky maiden when he returned to his chalet.’
      • ‘If there's a dusky maiden to rub on the sun oil, so much the better.’
      • ‘One of my English correspondents has recently spent a couple of months in Indonesia and mentioned with approval the dusky maidens there.’
    2. 1.2literary Dim.
      ‘dusky light came from a small window’
      • ‘The light was becoming dusky so I decided that sidelights were probably the way to go.’
      • ‘When I came in the dusky light of early morning they were singing, and when I opened the door they jumped beneath the tables and onto counters, their narrow legs humming.’
      • ‘The sun dips around 1am, there's a dusky twilight and then light again at 3am.’
      • ‘Back then, the question of water quality in the Huangpu or Suzhou Creek was not an issue and one can imagine tourists bathing in the dusky light on a summer evening before returning to the Astor for an evening meal, drinks and a dance.’
      • ‘It was just getting dark as we walked along the riverside to the Taj and the dusky light falling over the Ouse added to the romance of the outing.’
      shadowy, dark, darkish, dim, gloomy, murky, shady, cloudy, misty, hazy, foggy
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    3. 1.3attributive Used in names of animals with dark coloration, e.g. dusky dolphin, dusky warbler.
      • ‘And dusky sharks don't breed until they're 20 to 25 years old, after which small litters typically arrive at 3-year intervals.’
      • ‘Observations have been made of groups of up to twenty dusky broadbills building a single nest.’
      • ‘They go to watch sperm whales spout and dive or to swim with pods of dusky dolphins.’
      • ‘To be surrounded by dozens of squawking, hissing sea birds with 10 ft wingspans was one thing, but add to that a pod of 600 acrobatic dusky dolphins and you had a wildlife spectacle to rival anything on earth.’
      • ‘An osprey flying past with a fish in its talons was another bonus while a dusky flycatcher hawked insects from various perches around the garden.’
      • ‘Researchers have identified what could be signature whistles in other dolphin species, including spotted, white-sided, and dusky dolphins.’
      • ‘I have a dusky conure, and she is that parakeet's twin.’
      • ‘An analysis of extrapair paternity in the dusky warbler, Phylloscopus fuscatus, revealed that females choose copulation partners on the basis of the quality but not of the quantity of song.’