verb (used with object)
- to make dark or darker.
- to make obscure.
- to make less white or clear in color.
- to make gloomy; sadden: He darkened the festivities by his presence.
- to make blind.
verb (used without object)
- to become dark or darker.
- to become obscure.
- to become less white or clear in color.
- to grow clouded, as with gloom or anger.
- to become blind.
- darken someone’s door, to come to visit; make an appearance: Never darken my door again!
- to make or become dark or darker
- to make or become gloomy, angry, or sadhis mood darkened
- darken someone’s door (usually used with a negative) to visit someonenever darken my door again!
c. 1300, “to make dark;” late 14c., “to become dark,” from dark (adj.) + -en (1). The more usual verb in Middle English 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.” To darken someone’s door (usually with a negative) is attested from 1729.
Come unwanted to someone’s home, as in I told him to get out and never darken my door again. The verb darken here refers to casting one’s shadow across the threshold, a word that occasionally was substituted for door. As an imperative, the expression is associated with Victorian melodrama, where someone (usually a young woman or man) is thrown out of the parental home for some misdeed, but it is actually much older. Benjamin Franklin used it in The Busybody (1729): “I am afraid she would resent it so as never to darken my doors again.”