Green’s Dictionary of Slang

dark adj.

1. [mid-17C–early 18C; 1940s+] (later use W.I.) stupid, ignorant [SE dark, unenlightened, uninformed, as in dark ages].

2. [mid-19C+] (20C+ use Irish/W.I.) weak-sighted, nearly or actually blind.

3. [late 19C] (UK Und.) hidden.

4. [late 19C+] a derog. term meaning pertaining to black people; see combs. below [dark n. (2)].

5. [1980s+] (Aus. Und.) angry (with).

6. [1990s+] (UK black) aggressive, very serious.

7. [1990s+] (UK teen) a general negative, bad, unpleasant, second-rate etc.

In compounds

Dark City (n.)

[1950s–60s] (S.Afr.) the township of Alexandra, near Johannesburg.

dark cloud (n.)

[1900s–50s] (usu. Aus./US) a derog. term for a black person, a Native Australian.

dark man (n.)

[1970s] (Aus.) a derog. term for an Aborigine.

dark meat (n.)

see separate entry.

dark-sambo (n.) [sambo n.1 (3)]

[1950s+] (W.I.) a person of mixed race, with one-quarter white to three-quarters black.

dark stuff (n.)

[1960s] (US) a black person, usu. a woman, in a sexual context.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

dark cell (n.) [its lack of amenities]

[mid-19C+] (UK / US prison) a prison punishment cell.

dark cully (n.) [cully n.1 (2)]

[18C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) one who keeps a mistress and only dares visit her surreptitiously at night.

dark engineer (n.) [SE engineer, to manipulate, to perform]

[late 17C] a villain.

dark glim (n.)

[mid–late 18C] (UK Und.) a dark lanthorn.

dark (hole) (n.)

1. [late 19C] the vagina.

2. [late 19C-1910s] (US prison) a punishment cell.

3. [2000s] (S.Afr. gay) the anus.

dark house (n.)

1. [early 17C–mid-19C] a room used to confine the insane.

2. [late 17C] a tavern offering bedrooms for the night.

dark lantern (n.)

[18C-mid-19C] a thief’s candle or light, made so as to shut out the light when not needed.

dark lanthorn (n.) (also dark lantern) [he metaphorically diverts the light of his lantern from the robbery]

[late 17C–mid-19C] a servant or agent who takes and transmits a bribe offered to his master.

In phrases

dark-and-tan (adj.)

[1940s] (US) for an African-American clientele.

dark as an abo’s arsehole (adj.)

[1960s] (Aus.) very dark.

dark as a nigger’s pocket (adj.)

[mid-19C–1910s] very dark.

dark as the inside of a cow (adj.) (also darker than a yard down a bear’s throat, ... the inside of an old boot) [UK use is naut. only]

[mid-19C+] (Can./US) very dark.

dark it (v.) (also keep it dark)

[late 19C] to say nothing; esp. as imper. dark it! be quiet! keep quiet!

dark out (v.)

[1990s+] (UK black) to kill.

play dark (v.)

[mid-19C] to feign ignorance or incompetence.