darken someone's door


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!

1250–1300; Middle English derknen. See dark, -en1

darkener, noun
undarken, verb (used with object)
well-darkened, adjective

4. depress, dispirit, blacken, deject.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
darken (ˈdɑːkən)
1.  to make or become dark or darker
2.  to make or become gloomy, angry, or sad: his mood darkened
3.  (usually used with a negative) darken someone's door to visit someone: never darken my door again!

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c. 1300, "to make dark;" late 14c., "to become dark." The more usual verb in M.E. was simply dark, as it is in Chaucer and Shakespeare, and darken did not predominate until 17c. The Anglo-Saxons also had a useful verb, sweorcan, meaning "to grow dark." To darken someone's door (usually with a negative)
is attested from 1729.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

darken someone's door

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."

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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