black as pitch


Also found in: Wikipedia.

black as pitch

Totally dark, without any illumination. Distilling coal, peat, and other organic substances yield a very dark resinous residue called pitch (“pitch” and “tar” have became virtually synonymous). Anything that dark made a very good simile for “black.” The contemporary expression is “pitch black.” Those who chose to give the absence of light a theological cast would have said “black as sin,” while an imaginative Irish simile was “as black as the Earl of Hell's waistcoat.”
See also: black, pitch
References in classic literature ?
Then the lighted stuff, whatever it was, burnt out and the darkness seemed as black as pitch.
By this time the storm had about reached us; the gusts of wind were flaring the torches and making the shadows swash about, the first heavy drops of rain were falling, the world abroad was black as pitch, the lightning began to wink fitfully.
It was as black as pitch, but I heard a boat making for St.
A superbly presented and original work of seminal history, A Mile Deep And Black As Pitch is especially recommended to the attention of students as well as non-specialist general readers with an interest in American's mining industry and the contributions deep shaft ore mining has made to the development and expansion of the American nation.