What does the idiom "pitch black" mean?

You are wondering about the meaning of the phrase pitch black, maybe you heard it in a TV show, movie or theater play. Although this idiom is not used very often, it enriches your capacity of expression and strengthens communication. In which case is the expression pitch black used and what is its meaning?

Meaning of "pitch black"


Pitch black is an idiom used to describe a deep darkness that causes total lack of visibility. Pitch black darkness is comparable smoke so thick that nothing can be seen. This phrase is often used to emphasize the complete darkness in a certain environment.


The phrase 'pitch black' is believed to have originated from the tar-like black substance called 'pitch' which was used to waterproof boats and ships in the 15th century. This substance was so dark and thick that when it was applied to an object in the night, it would create an environment of total blackness.


The phrase 'pitch black' is most commonly used when describing a complete lack of light and visibility. This phrase can be used to describe an indoor or outdoor environment, such as a room or a forest. It is also commonly used to describe a certain feeling of despair or fear, as the darkness in this phrase is so intense and complete.

Example Sentences

  • The storm had caused the night to become pitch black and I couldn't see my hand in front of my face.
  • The basement was pitch black and I was too scared to move.
  • When I stepped out into the woods, the darkness was so intense that it was pitch black.

The meanings of the words in the "pitch black" idiom

The universal role of idioms

"Kill two birds with one stone" is an English idiom that means to accomplish two things with a single action. In French, the similar idiom is "Faire d'une pierre deux coups," which translates to "To kill two birds with one stone." This idiom highlights the efficiency of completing two tasks with one action.


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