See also: Tenebrae



With regressive dissimilation (*m-b > n-b) from *temabrāi, nominalized feminine plural from Proto-Italic *temazros (dark), from Proto-Indo-European *temH-(e)s-ro-, from *temH-. Related to temere. Compare Ukrainian те́мний (témnyj, dark).



tenebrae f pl (genitive tenebrārum); first declension

  1. darkness, especially the darkness of night
    • 405 CE, Jerome, Vulgate Genesis.1.2:
      terra autem erat inanis et vacua et tenebrae super faciem abyssi et spiritus Dei ferebatur super aquas
      And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters.
  2. (poetic) shadow of death
  3. prison, dungeon
  4. (by extension) gloom or darkness of the mind


First-declension noun, plural only.

Case Plural
Nominative tenebrae
Genitive tenebrārum
Dative tenebrīs
Accusative tenebrās
Ablative tenebrīs
Vocative tenebrae


Related termsEdit


  • Catalan: tenebres
  • French: ténèbres
  • Galician: tebras
  • Ido: tenebro
  • Istriot: tienabre


  • tenebrae”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • tenebrae”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • tenebrae in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition with additions by D. P. Carpenterius, Adelungius and others, edited by Léopold Favre, 1883–1887)
  • tenebrae in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette