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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English derknesse, from Old English deorcnes; equivalent to dark +‎ -ness.



darkness (countable and uncountable, plural darknesses)

  1. (uncountable) The state of being dark; lack of light; the absolute or comparative absence of light.
    The darkness of the room made it difficult to see.
    • 1912, Willa Cather, The Bohemian Girl
      Over everything was darkness and thick silence, and the smell of dust and sunflowers.
    • 1914, Louis Joseph Vance, chapter III, in Nobody, New York, N.Y.: George H[enry] Doran Company, published 1915, OCLC 40817384:
      Turning back, then, toward the basement staircase, she began to grope her way through blinding darkness, but had taken only a few uncertain steps when, of a sudden, she stopped short and for a little stood like a stricken thing, quite motionless save that she quaked to her very marrow in the grasp of a great and enervating fear.
  2. (uncountable) The state or quality of reflecting little light, of tending to a blackish or brownish color.
    The darkness of her skin betrayed her Mediterranean heritage.
  3. (uncountable) Gloom; gloominess; depression.
  4. (countable) The product of being dark.
  5. (uncountable) Lack of understanding or compassion; spiritual or mental blindness.
  6. (uncountable) Secrecy; concealment.
  7. (uncountable) Lack of knowledge; obscurity or meaning or intelligibility; the unknown.
    • 1899 Feb, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, page 195:
      It was just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind - as is very proper for those who tackle a darkness.
  8. (uncountable) Hell.
    • 2008, BioWare, Mass Effect (Science Fiction), Redwood City: Electronic Arts, →ISBN, OCLC 246633669, PC, scene: Eden Prime:
      Shepard: Can you tell me anything about the beacon?
      Dr. Warren: It's some type of data module from a galaxy-wide communications network. Remarkably well-preserved. It could be the greatest scientific discovery of our lifetime!
      Dr. Warren: Miraculous new technologies. Groundbreaking medical advances. Who knows what secrets are locked inside?
      Dr. Manuel: We have unearthed the heart of evil. Awakened the beast. Unleashed the darkness.


Derived terms[edit]


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