Pitch Dark

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Pitch black
Black as pitch
Pitch darkness
Pitch blackness
Black as coal (rare)

Meaning of Idiom 'Pitch Dark'

Pitch dark is used as an adjective to describe an extremely dark, moonless night or any completely dark environment. The variation, pitch black, black as pitch, or black as coal can also be used to describe anything that is totally black. All variations are more commonly used to describe darkness.


"I didn't like camping. Being from the city, I found it hard to sleep in the pitch dark woods."

"The cloud cover made the night as black as pitch."

"I don't like sleeping in a pitch black room. I prefer a little light."


The idiom is an allusion to the black color of pitch, which is a thick bituminous substance such as that derived from coal tar and used to waterproof ships.

Pitch has been used to describe total darkness since ancient times and appears in Homer's Illiad. The rarely heard variation 'black as coal' is almost as old. Oddly, although most people have never encountered pitch and may not know what it refers to in this idiom, the adjective has survied while others, such as black as ink or black as a raven, have fallen into disuse. (Source)

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