What Does Black as a Skillet Mean?

Black as a Skillet Meaning

Definition: So dark that no one can see.

Black as a skillet is a simile, a phrase that compares two things using the words “like” or “as.” When something is as black as a skillet, it is opaque and shadowy.

A skillet is a deep, dark pan used for cooking. Therefore, if something is compared to a skillet, the level of darkness is deep and all encompassing.

This phrase can be used to describe how much light is available, and it can also describe a thing that is shadowy or cannot be seen.

Origin of Black as a Skillet

as black as aBlack as a skillet is part of a group of phrases used to describe darkness. Similar phrases include black as coal, black as night, black as a stack of black cats, and black as a chimney sweep.

John Milton used the phrase black as night in Paradise Lost, and that phrase has evolved into the variety of comparisons used to describe darkness today.

Examples of Black as a Skillet

black skilletMost commonly, black as a skillet is used to describe the atmosphere. For example,

  • I can’t see outside; it’s as black as a skillet

This might be said at night out in the country.

Black as a skillet can also describe a thing that cannot be seen, especially if this is because of dirtiness. If a child plays in the mud all day and coats his clothing and skin in dirt, his parents may say,

  • Come here and clean up! You are as black as a skillet!

Figuratively, someone might describe something evil or of a dark nature with this phrase. A description of a fictional villain may read,

  • She had a soul as black as a skillet.

More Examples

  • Without a lantern, however, he could see nothing: the sky was as black as a skillet. –Esquire
  • “Whether he’s white as a sheet or black as a skillet,” she said, “out of one blood God made all nations.” –Chicago Tribune


Something that is as black as a skillet cannot be seen or is of a dark nature.