Etymology
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Words related to dark

marsh (n.)

"tract of water-soaked or partially flooded land; wet, swampy ground; piece of low ground, usually more or less wet but often nearly dry at certain seasons," Middle English mersh, from Old English mersc, merisc "marsh, swamp," from Proto-Germanic *marisko (source also of Old Frisian and Old Saxon marsk "marsh," Middle Dutch mersch, Dutch mars, German Marsch, Danish marsk), probably from Proto-Germanic *mari- "sea" (from PIE root *mori- "body of water").

The vowel shift from -e- to -a- began in 15c. and is usual for -er- followed by a consonant: Compare darling (Middle English dereling, Old English deorling), far (Middle English fer, Old English feorr), mar (Middle English merren), hart (Middle English hert, Old English heorot). Marsh gas "methane generated by decaying matter in marshes" is attested by 1819.

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darkling (adv.)

"in the dark," mid-15c., from dark (n.) + now-obsolete adverbial ending -ling (compare headlong). The verb darkle is a back-formation from 1810 (Moore, who rhymed it with sparkle), assuming the -ing as a present-participle adjective ending.

But having nothing to do with the participial -ing it does not mean growing dark &c.; from the mistaken notion that it is a participle spring both the misuse of the word itself and the spurious verb darkle. [Fowler]

 By the same error, darkling (adj.), "dark, obscure, gloomy" is attested from 1763. The adverb was sometimes darklings, with adverbial genitive -s.

darken (v.)

c. 1300, derken, "to make dark or darker, deprive of light;" early 14c. (intransitive), "to grow or become dark," from dark (adj.) + -en (1). The more usual verb in Middle English in both senses was simply dark, as it is in Chaucer and Shakespeare, and darken did not predominate until 17c. The Anglo-Saxons also had a verb sweorcan meaning "to grow dark."

Meanings "grow less white or clear, turn a darker color" and "render less white or clear" are from late 14c. Figurative sense of "render gloomy, sadden" is from 1742. To darken(one's) door (usually with a negative) "enter one's house as a visitor," usually with an implication of unwelcomeness, is attested from 1729.

darkly (adv.)

Old English deorclice "in a (morally) dark manner, horribly, foully;" see dark + -ly (2). Meaning "mysteriously, with (often sinister) vagueness" is from late 14c.; that of "dimly, obscurely, faintly" is from early 15c.; that of "gloomily, ominously" is from 1590s.

darkness (n.)

Old English deorcnysse "absence of light," from dark (adj.) + -ness. The 10c. Anglo-Saxon treatise on astronomy uses þeostrum for "darkness." Figurative use for "sinfulness, wickedness" is from early 14c. From late 14c. as "obscurity," also "secrecy, concealment," also "blindness," physical, mental, or spiritual.

dark-room (n.)

also darkroom, in photography, "room from which any light that would affect a photographic plate or film has been excluded," 1841, from dark (adj.) + room (n.).

darksome (adj.)

"somewhat dark, gloomy, shadowy," 1520s; see dark (adj.) + -some.

darky (n.)

also darkey, darkie, colloquial for "a black person, a Negro" (now offensive), 1775, from dark (adj.) + -y (3). Related: Darkies.

dern (adj.)

"secret, hidden," from Old English derne (West Saxon dierne) "concealed, secret, dark," from West Germanic *darnjaz (source also of Old Saxon derni, Old Frisian dern "concealed, dark," Old High German tarni "secret, concealed, veiled"), related to dark (adj.).

Archaic or poetic only after 16c., it was important and productive in Middle English, with extended senses of "secluded; profound, mysterious; stealthy, deceptive; private, confidential." Dern love was "secret or illicit love; a mistress."

As a verb, meaning "to conceal," it was from Old English diernan "to hide." Compare Old Saxon dernian, Old High German tarnjan "to conceal, hide;" German Tarnkappe, Tarnhelm "magical cap or helmet which turns the wearer invisible or allows him to assume any form." French ternir "to tarnish, to dull" apparently is from Germanic.

far (adv.)

Middle English fer, from Old English feor "to a great distance, long ago," from Proto-Germanic *ferro (source also of Old Saxon fer, Old Frisian fir, Old Norse fiarre, Old High German fer, Gothic fairra), from PIE root *per- (1), base of words for "through, forward," with extended senses such as "across, beyond" (source also of Sanskrit parah "farther, remote, ulterior," Hittite para "outside of," Greek pera "across, beyond," Latin per "through," Old Irish ire "farther"). For vowel change, see dark (adj.). Paired with wide to mean "everywhere" since 9c.