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The Collaborative International Dictionary

benight \be*night"\ (b[-e]*n[imac]t"), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Benighted; p. pr. & vb. n. Benighting.]

  1. To involve in darkness; to shroud with the shades of night; to obscure. [Archaic]

    The clouds benight the sky.

  2. To overtake with night or darkness, especially before the end of a day's journey or task.

    Some virgin, sure, . . . benighted in these woods.

  3. To involve in moral darkness, or ignorance; to debar from intellectual light.

    Shall we to men benighted The lamp of life deny ?

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1550s, "to be overtaken by darkness," from be- + night. Figurative sense (especially in past participle adjective benighted) of "to involve in moral or intellectual darkness" is from c.1600.


vb. 1 (label en archaic) (context transitive English) To overtake with night. 2 (label en archaic) (context transitive of a traveller etc English) To be caught out by oncoming night before reaching one's destination 3 (label en archaic) (context transitive English) To darken

  1. v. overtake with darkness or night

  2. envelop with social, intellectual, or moral darkness; "The benighted peoples of this area"

  3. make difficult to perceive by sight; "The foliage of the huge tree obscures the view of the lake" [syn: obscure, bedim]

Usage examples of "benight".

Walid Pasha get his aqucar and his cafe, for that matter, in this benighted land on the edge of civilization?

I had hoped to soon set sail for Normandy, there to spend some time in my own lands and get the taste of this benighted land from off my tongue, its squalorous stinks from out my nostrils, not to set sail across thousands of leagues of open ocean to fetch up, at last, in a place even more primitive and dark and bloody than this Ireland.

One thing you have to understand about us poor benighted airedales is that we always have a backup plan.

Beer Day Beverage alcohol has not been permitted aboard commissioned vessels of the United States Navy since a benighted Secretary of the Navy named Josephus Daniels decided that captains might get drunk someday and run their ships aground.

All those long centuries they had smoldered, now and then breaking loose, feeding on the packed-up tinder that had been sifting into the shadows and the corners of Istanbul, its crooked angles dredged with dust and detritus and the filth of a million benighted souls.

Perhaps, when contemptuously signifying to him his release, the Citizen Saviour of the Country might have thought this benighted aristocrat too broken in health and spirit and fortune to be any longer dangerous.

And as long as the treasure flowed north, without a break, that utter sentimentalist, Holroyd, would not drop his idea of introducing, not only justice, industry, peace, to the benighted continents, but also that pet dream of his of a purer form of Christianity.

Or on that loneliest of eves when afar and benighted we stood, She who upheld me and I, in the midmost of Egdon together, Confident I in her watching and ward through the blackening heather, Deeming her matchless in might and with measureless scope endued.

Two of this benighted band of adventurers were dead already at the hands of their fellows, and as Ilbryn watched, a third met a screaming end spitted on two javelins.

If the benighted traveller spies those luminous, terrible sequins stitched suddenly on the black thickets, then he knows he must run, if fear has not struck him stock-still.

If this was truly Sobrania, and not one of its benighted subkingdoms, she might be able to escape with the help of her Black Trillium and throw herself upon the mercy of Emperor Denombo.

Even like the dayspring, poured on vapours dank, The beams of that one Star did shoot and quiver Through my benighted mind--and were extinguished never.

Squire Gooch shares our determination to convert the benighted Cajuns by whom he is surrounded.

The unfortunate and benighted Greek was chanting a disconnected and mad song, composed from snatches of hymns and sacred odes, all jarringly woven together.

I have never understood the veneration that so many benighted races have for Anahita or Cybele or Artemis or whatever name the voracious mother-goddess happens to bear.