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Dark Ages

noun
1.
the period in European history from about a.d. 476 to about 1000.
2.
the whole of the Middle Ages, from about a.d. 476 to the Renaissance.
3.
(often lowercase) a period or stage marked by repressiveness, a lack of enlightenment or advanced knowledge, etc.
Origin
1720-1730
1720-30
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for Dark Ages

Dark Ages

plural noun (European history) the Dark Ages
1.
the period from about the late 5th century ad to about 1000 ad, once considered an unenlightened period
2.
(occasionally) the whole medieval period
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Dark Ages

dark ages

1739, any benighted time in history, period of ignorance; specific focus on the centuries from the fall of Rome to the revival of secular literature is from 1830s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Dark Ages in Culture

Dark Ages definition


A term sometimes applied to the early Middle Ages, the first few centuries after the Fall of Rome. The term suggests prevailing ignorance and barbarism, but there were forces for culture and enlightenment throughout the period.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for Dark Ages

the early medieval period of western European history. Specifically, the term refers to the time (476-800) when there was no Roman (or Holy Roman) emperor in the West; or, more generally, to the period between about 500 and 1000, which was marked by frequent warfare and a virtual disappearance of urban life. It is now rarely used by historians because of the value judgment it implies. Though sometimes taken to derive its meaning from the fact that little was then known about the period, the term's more usual and pejorative sense is of a period of intellectual darkness and barbarity. See Middle Ages.

Learn more about Dark Ages with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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