Black as Newgate's knocker


      • Being very dark or black
        To describe something that is extremely dark in color, usually referring to the color black itself or something that is very dark in appearance.

      • Very angry or furious
        To depict someone's intense emotions, usually referring to anger or rage.

      • Extremely evil or wicked
        To describe someone or something that is extremely immoral, corrupt, or malevolent.

    Examples of Black as Newgate's knocker

    • The ink on the page was black as Newgate's knocker, the darkness consumed the white space while the letters danced in their shadows.

      This idiom is used here to convey the intense darkness of the ink, comparing it to the blackness of Newgate's knocker which was historically known for being incredibly dark due to its location and age.

    • The clouds overhead hung like Newgate's knocker, thick and heavy, threatening to let loose a deluge of rain on the unsuspecting town below.

      Here, the use of this idiom highlights the depth of color and intensity of the clouds, comparing their darkness to the infamous door knocker outside of Newgate Prison.

    • The alleyway was black as Newgate's knocker, closed in by looming walls that seemed to swallow up any hint of light that dared to enter.

      Utilizing this idiom here emphasizes the complete darkness of the alleyway, presenting it as a place where even the faintest flickers of light would be absorbed by the shadowy recesses.

    • The night sky was black as Newgate's knocker, the stars hidden behind an unforgiving cloak of darkness that left the world feeling isolated and hushed.

      In this instance, the use of this idiom is a way to convey the deprivation of light, drawing a connection between the impenetrable velvet of the sky and the unrelenting darkness of Newgate's notorious door knocker.


    The idiom "black as Newgate's knocker" is used to describe something that is very dark, angry, or wicked in nature. It is often used figuratively to describe emotions or appearances, rather than literal colors. The origin of this idiom is related to the infamous Newgate Prison in London, which was known for its dark and gloomy cells, as well as its reputation for housing some of the most notorious criminals. This association with darkness and wickedness likely gave rise to the use of "black as Newgate's knocker" as a way to describe something or someone with dark and negative qualities.

    Origin of "Black as Newgate's knocker"

    The origin of this idiom can be traced back to the 18th century, when Newgate Prison was still in operation. The prison was originally built in the 12th century and was known for its harsh conditions and overcrowding. It housed a variety of criminals, ranging from petty thieves to murderers, and was notorious for its high death rates among inmates.

    The phrase "black as Newgate's knocker" is a play on words, as it refers to both the dark and oppressive environment of the prison and the large iron knocker that adorned the prison's door. This knocker was used to announce the arrival of visitors or the start of executions, adding to the prison's grim reputation. As the idiom gained popularity, it became a commonly used phrase to describe anything that was dark, angry, or evil in nature.