English edit

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Etymology edit

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

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

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:
      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.
    • 1989, “One”, performed by Metallica:
      Darkness imprisoning me
      All that I see
      Absolute horror
      I cannot live
      I cannot die
      Trapped in myself
      Body my holding cell
  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, countable) Any space that such colour pervades.
    Out of the darkness came some flickers of light.
  4. (uncountable) Gloom; gloominess; depression.
  5. (countable) The product of being dark.
  6. (uncountable) Lack of understanding or compassion; spiritual or mental blindness.
    • 1984, 41:18 from the start, in Dune[1] (Science Fiction), spoken by Reverend Mother Ramallo, →OCLC:
      And now, the prophecy. One will come, the voice from the outer world, bringing the holy war, the jihad, which will cleanse the universe and bring us out of darkness.
  7. (uncountable) Secrecy; concealment.
  8. (uncountable) Lack of knowledge; obscurity or meaning or intelligibility; the unknown.
  9. (uncountable) Nothingness, vanity, emptiness.
  10. (uncountable) Hell.
    • 2008, BioWare, Mass Effect (Science Fiction), Redwood City: Electronic Arts, →ISBN, →OCLC, 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.

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