What does ‘tenebrous’ mean?

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I provide a word of the week. Today’s word: tenebrous…

Loyal reader John Friesen likes to send me words he collects in his reading. The latest? Tenebrous. It comes from the book The Making of Home by Judith Flanders, the story of the evolution of the house from the 16th to the early 20th centuries across northern Europe and America. The book describes how and why our homes have come to be what they are. Judith Flanders is also the author of the critically acclaimed bestsellers The Invention of Murder and The Victorian City.

Here is how Flanders used the word in her latest work:

The Romantic movement built on these ideas of the tenebrous, linking them to the emotional responses its adherents valued above reason.

Meaning “dark, shadowy, obscure” (as in the picture I show, above) the word dates back to the last 15th century, from the Old French tenebrous meaning “dark, gloomy” which, in turn, comes from the Latin tenebrae also meaning “dark.”