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[ten-uh-bruh s] /ˈtɛn ə brəs/
dark; gloomy; obscure.
Also, tenebrious
[tuh-neb-ree-uh s] /təˈnɛb ri əs/ (Show IPA)
Origin of tenebrous
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Latin tenebrōsus. See Tenebrae, -ous
Related forms
tenebrousness, noun
untenebrous, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tenebrous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We find the cloudy or tenebrous sky of night represented in the Ṛigvedas and in the Avesta as aman, or mountain of stone.

  • Your voice is tenebrous, as if An angel mocked a blackbird's pipe.

    Silverpoints John Gray
  • We have said that the tenebrous darkness of last night had not prepared us for the charms of to-day.

    Glories of Spain Charles W. Wood
  • At what moment will the fierce impurities borne from its somber and tenebrous past be hurled up in you?

  • I can't recall any other detail, but the whole atmosphere was tenebrous and sinister.

    The Capgras Shift Sam Vaknin
  • Winged things that were not bats swooped and fluttered in the tenebrous air, whispering sibilantly—whispering in human voices.

    The Secret of Kralitz Henry Kuttner
  • Never had she looked to Ray so like an eagle, so keen, so fierce, so fit for braving either sun or tenebrous cavern.

    The Precipice Elia Wilkinson Peattie
  • The room was well illuminated with gas, whatever might be going on in the streets; to no tenebrous repast were we invited.

    Glories of Spain Charles W. Wood
  • Our town was indeed but one vast hospital—orderly, subdued, and tenebrous.

British Dictionary definitions for tenebrous


gloomy, shadowy, or dark
Derived Forms
tenebrosity (ˌtɛnəˈbrɒsɪtɪ), tenebrousness, tenebriousness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin tenebrōsus from tenebrae darkness
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 tenebrous

"full of darkness," early 15c., from Old French tenebreus (11c.), from Latin tenebrosus, from tenebrae "darkness" (see temerity).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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