240+ Dark Words for More Descriptive Writing

Searching for unique dark words can be a challenge. The word dark has multiple meanings and can be described many ways. Selecting the appropriate words to describe darkness improves the creativity and impact of your writing.  

dark words represented by black storm cloudsdark words represented by black storm clouds

Words to Describe Darkness

When writing about a dark color or describing dark conditions in the external environment (meaning there is little or no light), choose synonyms for dark that allow readers to envision the degree of darkness. Select descriptive language that helps readers vividly picture the setting you are showing in your work. 

beclouded

black

black as night

blackish

blackness

bleak

blurred

brunette

caliginous

charcoal

cloud cover

cloudy

colorless

darkening

darkling

darksome

deep purple

dim

dimmed

dingy

drab

dreariness

dreary

dull

dusky

filmy

foggy

gloaming

gloomy

gray

grim

hazy

ill-lighted

ill-lit

impenetrable

incomprehensible

inky

lackluster

leaden

lightless

midnight 

misty

moonless

muddied

murky 

navy blue

nebulous

night

nightfall

obfuscated

oblique

obscured

opaque

overcast

pitch black

pitch dark

poorly lit

rayless

semi-dark

shaded

shadowy

smoggy

somber

sooty

soupy

starless

stormy

stygian

sunless

swarthy

tenebrific

tenebrosity

total darkness

twilight

unable to see through

unfathomable

unlit

unseeing

unsighted

witching hour

without sight

thoughtful sad woman represents darknessthoughtful sad woman represents darkness

Words to Describe Dark Emotions or Moods

Any person can experience dark emotions or moods. When selecting descriptive terms to explain this kind of darkness, writers should keep character development in mind. A person can be in a dark mood for a short time, or could deal with extended periods of emotional darkness. Depression and similar medical conditions can also lead to feelings of darkness. Choose words consistent with the message you want to convey regarding the character about whom you are writing. 

afeared

affrighted

anguish

baleful

bereaved

bleak

brooding

cheerless

chilled

comfortless

creeped

daunting

dejection

depressed

desolate

despair

desperate

desperation

despondent

dire

dismal

dispirited

distress

doleful

dolorous

doomy

dour

downtrodden 

dread

eerie

elegiac

emo

enraged

fatalistic

fearful

foreboding

forlorn

foul

frightened

glum

grief-stricken

grieving

heavy-hearted

hopeless

horrified

horror-stricken

horror-struck

joyless

lugubrious

malaise

melancholic

melancholy

mirthless

morose

mournful

mourning

omen

ominous

panic

panicked

panicky

panic-stricken

paralyzed with fear

pessimistic

petrified

premonition

repelled

sad

saturnine

scared

sepulchral

solemn

somber

sorrowful

spooked

terrorized

terror-stricken

terror-struck

unfeeling

worthlessness

wretched

mean angry girl with dark traitsmean angry girl with dark traits

Terms to Describe Dark Traits or Actions 

A person who has dark traits is one who may be driven to do bad things or cause harm to others. Choose terms focused on describing personality traits or behaviors that represent the potential for great evil when describing this kind of darkness. 

abhorrent

abominable

abomination 

antisocial

appalling 

bad egg

blackguard

brooding

chilling

cold

deadly

demented

depraved

despicable

deviance

deviant

devilish

evil 

evildoer

fearsome

funereal

ghastly

ghoulish

gory

grim

grisly

grotesque

gruesome

hateful

horrendous

horrific

horrifying

irascible 

knave

loathsome

lurid

macabre

Machiavellian 

maim

malefactor

malevolent

malignant

miscreant

monstrous

morbid

murder

nefarious

nightmarish

odious

pathological

pitiless

reprobate

repugnant

repulsive

revolting

rotten

rotten to the core

sadism

satanic

savage

scary

scoundrel

scumbag

sickening

sinister

spine-chilling

spooky

terrible

terroristic

torment

torture

twisted

unnatural

vicious

vile

villainous

violence

violent

wicked

wickedness

wretch

Choosing the Right Words to Describe Darkness

From words that sound fearful and conjure images of evil to beautiful words with dark meanings, there are many ways to describe darkness. Consider whether you’re looking to describe the dark appearance of an object or the environment, or if your goal is to provide readers with a sense of darkness associated with someone’s emotions, a person’s behavior, or even the supernatural. These factors are all relevant in selecting the most appropriate descriptive language to include in your writing. 

Expanding Your Descriptive Writing Skills

The best writers are always looking for ways to improve their work. While writers need to have many skills, being able to accurately describe elements of a story is among the most important. Continually seeking to expand your vocabulary with descriptive terms and sensory words is an important aspect of creative writing. If you’re looking to set a dark tone in a story you are writing, use descriptive language to set the mood and draw readers in with visual imagery. Review a selection of spooky words for more ideas and inspiration to further improve your descriptive writing skills.

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