Etymology
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dark (adj.)

Middle English derk, later dark, from Old English deorc "without light, lacking light or brightness (especially at night), obscure, gloomy;" figuratively "sad, cheerless; sinister, wicked," from Proto-Germanic *derkaz (source also of Old High German tarchanjan "to hide, conceal"), which is of uncertain etymology. For vowel change, see marsh.

Application to colors, "not radiating or reflecting much light," is from late 14c. Of complexion, "not fair," from early 14c. Figurative sense of "obscure, not easily understood" is from early 13c.; that of "sullen, sad" is from 1590s. Meaning "concealed, secret" is from late 14c. Dark Continent "Africa" (1828) combines several figurative senses (earliest references are in missionary publications). Theater slang for "closed" is from 1916.

Dark Ages "benighted time in history, period of ignorance" is attested by 1739; the specific focus on the centuries of the early Middle Ages in Europe, from the fall of Rome to the revival of secular literature, is from 1830s, from dark in a sense of "characterized by ignorance, backward in learning, void of intellectual light" (late 14c.). 

Dark horse "competitor for honors or office about whom nothing certain is known, or whose identity is at first concealed," especially, in U.S., politics, "one who is unexpectedly brought forward as a candidate in a convention," 1842, is an image from horse racing, of horses whose performances or capabilities are not generally known, in which dark is used in its figurative sense of "unknown."

Moonraker is called a "dark horse"; that is neither his sire nor dam is known. ["Pierce Egan's Book of Sports," London, 1832] 

Origin and meaning of dark

dark (n.)

early 13c., derk, "absence of light, night-time," from dark (adj.). Figurative in the dark "in a state of ignorance" is from 1670s; earlier it meant "in secrecy, in concealment" (late 14c.).

Origin and meaning of dark

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Definitions of dark
1
dark (adj.)
devoid of or deficient in light or brightness; shadowed or black;
a dark day
sitting in a dark corner
dark shadows
dark as the inside of a black cat
dark (adj.)
(used of color) having a dark hue;
dark green
dark glasses
dark colors like wine red or navy blue
dark (adj.)
brunet (used of hair or skin or eyes);
dark eyes
dark (adj.)
stemming from evil characteristics or forces; wicked or dishonorable; "the scheme of some sinister intelligence bent on punishing him"-Thomas Hardy;
Darth Vader of the dark side
dark undercurrents of ethnic hostility
a dark purpose
Synonyms: black / sinister
dark (adj.)
secret;
keep it dark
dark (adj.)
lacking enlightenment or knowledge or culture;
the dark ages
a dark age in the history of education
Synonyms: benighted
dark (adj.)
marked by difficulty of style or expression;
much that was dark is now quite clear to me
Synonyms: obscure
dark (adj.)
causing dejection;
the dark days of the war
a dark gloomy day
Synonyms: blue / dingy / disconsolate / dismal / gloomy / grim / sorry / drab / drear / dreary
dark (adj.)
not giving performances; closed;
the theater is dark on Mondays
2
dark (n.)
absence of light or illumination;
Synonyms: darkness
dark (n.)
absence of moral or spiritual values;
Synonyms: wickedness / darkness
dark (n.)
an unilluminated area;
Synonyms: darkness / shadow
dark (n.)
the time after sunset and before sunrise while it is dark outside;
Synonyms: night / nighttime
dark (n.)
an unenlightened state;
he was in the dark concerning their intentions
Synonyms: darkness
From wordnet.princeton.edu