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From Middle English derkenen, dirkenen, from Old English *deorcnian, *diercnian (to darken), from Proto-Germanic *dirkinōną (to darken), equivalent to dark +‎ -en. Cognate with Scots derken, durken (to darken), Old High German tarchanjan, terchinen (to darken), Middle High German terken, derken (to darken).



darken (third-person singular simple present darkens, present participle darkening, simple past and past participle darkened)

  1. (transitive) To make dark or darker by reducing light.
    • Bible, Exodus x. 15
      They [locusts] covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened.
  2. (intransitive) To become dark or darker (having less light).
  3. (transitive) To make dark or darker in colour.
  4. (intransitive) To become dark or darker in colour.
  5. (transitive) To render gloomy, darker in mood
    • Shakespeare
      With these forced thoughts, I prithee, darken not / The mirth of the feast.
  6. (intransitive) To become gloomy, darker in mood
  7. (transitive) To blind, impair eyesight
    • Bible, Rom xi. 10
      Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see.
  8. (intransitive) To be blinded, loose clear vision
  9. To cloud, obscure, or perplex; to render less clear or intelligible.
    • Bible, Job xxxviii. 2
      Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
    • Francis Bacon
      Such was his wisdom that his confidence did seldom darken his foresight.
  10. To make foul; to sully; to tarnish.
    • Shakespeare
      I must not think there are / Evils enough to darken all his goodness.



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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.