common spiny-finned freshwater fish, c. 1300, perche, from Old French perche, from Latin perca "perch," from Greek perkē "a perch," from perknos "spotted, having dark spots," from PIE root *perk- "speckled, spotted" (source also of Sanskrit prsnih "speckled, variegated;" Greek perkazein "to become dark"), typically in names of animals; compare Middle Irish erc, Welsh erch "spotted, dark red; salmon, trout," also "cow, lizard;" Old High German forhana, Old English forne "trout."
Old English sweart "black, dark," of night, clouds, also figurative, "wicked, infamous," from Proto-Germanic *swarta- (source also of Old Frisian, Old Saxon, and Middle Dutch swart, Dutch zwart, Old Norse svartr, German schwarz, Gothic swarts "dark-colored, black"), from PIE root *swordo- "dirty, dark, black" (source of sordid). The true Germanic word, surviving in the Continental languages but displaced in English by black. Of skin color of persons from late 14c. Related: Swartest.
1760 "gloomy, shadowy" (earlier sombrous, c. 1730), from French sombre "dark, gloomy," from Old French sombre (14c.), from an adjective from Late Latin subumbrare "to shadow," from sub "under" (see sub-) + umbra "shade, shadow" (perhaps from a suffixed form of PIE *andho- "blind, dark;" see umbrage). Related: Somberly; somberness.
dark variety of Chinese tea, 1844, from Chinese wu-lung, literally "black dragon."