from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Characterized by little or inadequate light; shadowy.
  • adj. Rather dark in color: dusky skin. See Synonyms at dark.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Dimly lit, as at dusk (evening).
  • adj. A shade of color that is rather dark.
  • adj. dark-skinned
  • adj. ashen, greyish skin coloration
  • n. A dusky shark.
  • n. A dusky dolphin.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Partially dark or obscure; not luminous; dusk.
  • adj. Tending to blackness in color; partially black; dark-colored; not bright.
  • adj. Gloomy; sad; melancholy.
  • adj. Intellectually clouded.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Rather dark; obscure; not luminous; dim: as, a dusky valley.
  • Rather black; dark-colored; fuscous; not light or bright: as, a dusky brown; the dusky wings of some insects.
  • Hence, figuratively, gloomy; sad.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. naturally having skin of a dark color
  • adj. lighted by or as if by twilight


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Rather call the dusky and dark-haired Twilight, whose pensive face is limned against the western hills, by the name of that fierce and fervid Noon that stands erect under the hot zenith, instinct with the red blood of a thousand summers, casting her glittering tresses abroad upon the south-wind, and holding in her hands the all-unfolded rose of life.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 03, No. 16, February, 1859

  • The country, England and India alike, are so satisfied with my rule over what I may, perhaps without offence, call our dusky

    Punch, Or The London Charivari, Volume 102, July 2, 1892

  • They seemed to have the contrary effect, making him irritable; and though he made up his mind to watch the stars peer out through the opalescent sky -- he did not call it opalescent, for the simple word dusky took its place -- even their soft light had no effect upon him, and to come to the result at once the would-be sleeper gave it up at last for a bad job.

    In the Mahdi's Grasp

  • But the whole season has been filled with earthy colors, such as dusky blues at Diane von Furstenberg and Michael Kors 's mauves and dove grays.

    From the Runways, Five Easy Pieces for Fall

  • He picked up the term from African-American ( "dusky" he called them) stable hands at the Fair Grounds racetrack in New Orleans, probably on January 14, 1920.

    Your Right Hand Thief

  • I guess it's okay to say "dusky" as a euphemism for "darky."

    "Why is Obama so vapid and hesitant and gutless? Why, to put it another way, does he risk going into political history as a dusky Dukakis?"

  • There was a kind of dusky brownish-green parrot, too, which the scientific call a Nestor.

    A First Year in Canterbury Settlement

  • I sang till it got kind of dusky, and then I left my house for the last time.

    sheepdip Diary Entry

  • The sun was pouring down a yellow autumnal ray into the square of the cloisters; beaming upon a scanty plot of grass in the centre, and lighting up an angle of the vaulted passage with a kind of dusky splendor.

    The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon

  • It seemed, partly because the ceiling was low, to be very spacious; the walls and ceiling were of a kind of dusky amber hue; a golden brown was everywhere the prevailing tint.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "her dusky cheek" or "her dusky skin" -- I don't know what it's from, but I love the phrase.

    March 19, 2008