The Meaning of Dark Winter: What It Is and How To Use It

What did President Joe Biden mean when he referred to a dark winter of the coronavirus? Keep reading to learn more about the meaning of dark winter.

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Do you know what the Dark Winter exercise was? Do you know how President Joe Biden used the term dark winter? Keep reading to learn about how to use the term dark winter and what a Dark Winter exercise is.

What Does Dark Winter Mean?

According to Johns Hopkins’ Center for Health Security, dark winter has a couple of meanings. This term was used regarding the coronavirus by Joe Biden, and it was also an exercise performed by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the ANSER Institute for Homeland Security, the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies, and the Oklahoma City National Memorial Institute for the Prevention Terrorism. 

The Dark Winter Exercise

In the 2001 Dark Winter exercise, senior-level officials from several American institutions participated in a war game which examined the challenges of a hypothetical attack using biological weapons on the United States. 

In this game, people participated as the Secretary of Defense, members of the National Guard, members of the National Security Council, members of the DoD, and more. The game examined if the health care system and U.S. public health organizations had enough surge capacity to survive something like a smallpox attack.

Dark Winter and the Coronavirus

President Joe Biden also referred to a “dark winter” of the coronavirus pandemic in a debate with President Donald Trump. With warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Biden encouraged people be prepared in the face of rising numbers of new cases. 

The pathogen of the coronavirus can be spread easily, so it is important not to overwhelm emergency response teams or health and human services teams. Although decisionmakers and federal authorities from the federal government are responsible for policy surrounding the infectious disease — as are state legislators like those from Pennsylvania, Maryland — or Georgia, it is also the responsibility of the American people to protect themselves.

The public health system is an important part of infectious disease prevention. How do you use your situational awareness to keep yourself safe from disease?

What Are Translations of Dark Winter?

There are many ways that people around the world can say dark winter. However, if you are trying to say the phrase “dark winter” to someone who does not speak English, you can use this list of translations of dark winter from Nice Translator as a reference guide.

See if you can determine which of the words in the below translations are the word “dark” and which are the word “winter.” Many languages have different grammatical structures. Some of them put the adjective before the noun and vice versa.

  • Amharic: ጥቁር ክረምት
  • Romanian: iarnă întunecată
  • Portuguese (Portugal): inverno escuro
  • Slovak: temná zima
  • Korean: 어두운 겨울
  • Gujarati: ડાર્ક વિન્ટર
  • Turkish: karanlık kış
  • Bengali: অন্ধকার শীতকালীন
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 黑暗的冬天
  • Hebrew: חורף כהה
  • Basque: Negu iluna
  • Czech: temná zima
  • Spanish: invierno oscuro
  • Indonesian: musim dingin yang gelap
  • Chinese (PRC): 黑暗的冬天
  • Latvian: tumšs ziema
  • Greek: σκούρο χειμώνα
  • Norwegian: mørk vinter
  • Urdu: سیاہ موسم سرما
  • Lithuanian: Tamsia žiema
  • Filipino: madilim na taglamig
  • Polish: ciemna zima
  • Dutch: donkere winter
  • Portuguese (Brazil): inverno escuro
  • Bulgarian: тъмна зима
  • Japanese: 暗い冬
  • Kannada: ಡಾರ್ಕ್ ವಿಂಟರ್
  • Ukrainian: темна зима
  • Catalan: Hivern fosc
  • Swahili: baridi ya baridi.
  • Tamil: இருண்ட குளிர்காலம்
  • German: dunkler Winter
  • Serbian: тамна зима
  • Hungarian: sötét tél
  • Malay: Musim sejuk gelap
  • Telugu: డార్క్ వింటర్
  • Swedish: mörk vinter
  • Hindi: अंधेरा सर्दी
  • Croatian: tamna zima
  • Estonian: tume talv
  • Welsh: Gaeaf tywyll
  • Marathi: गडद हिवाळा
  • Finnish: tumma talvi
  • French: hiver foncé
  • Danish: mørk vinter
  • Russian: темная зима
  • Vietnamese: Mùa đông tối
  • Arabic: الشتاء الظلام
  • Thai: ฤดูหนาวที่มืด
  • Malayalam: ഇരുണ്ട ശൈത്യകാലം

What Are Synonyms of Dark Winter?

There are several ways to say the word winter, according to Power Thesaurus. Learning synonyms is beneficial to one’s vocabulary in many ways. Not only can looking at lists of synonyms help you learn new words, but it can make your speech and writing more interesting.

  • arctic
  • brumal
  • chill
  • cold
  • cold season
  • cold wave
  • cold weather
  • colder half of the year
  • coldness
  • depth of winter
  • freeze
  • freezing weather
  • frost
  • hard winter
  • hibernal
  • hibernate
  • hibernating
  • hiemal
  • hog season
  • iciness
  • layoff
  • lie dormant
  • lie torpid
  • midwinter
  • overwinter
  • overwintering
  • period
  • season
  • season after autumn
  • season before spring
  • seasonal
  • seasons
  • snow season
  • spring
  • subzero weather
  • summer
  • time of year
  • twelvemonth
  • winter solstice
  • winter time
  • winter-tide
  • wintering
  • winterlike
  • winterly
  • winters
  • wintertide
  • wintertime
  • wintery
  • wintry
  • wintry weather
  • wintry wind
  • year
  • years

What Are Antonyms of Dark Winter?

There are also several words that mean the opposite of winter. Learning opposites can help expand your vocabulary and better understand the base word. Take a look at these antonyms of winter from Power Thesaurus and see how many you know!

  • aestival
  • annum
  • autumn
  • beach season
  • beach time
  • broiling sun
  • canicular
  • canicular days
  • canicule
  • consume time
  • daylight savings time
  • dog days
  • fritter away time
  • harvest
  • have leisure
  • heat
  • heat wave
  • high summer
  • holiday
  • hot
  • hot season
  • hot weather
  • idle away time
  • joist
  • june
  • kill time
  • midsummer
  • pass the time
  • period
  • picnic days
  • season
  • seasonal
  • seasons
  • spring
  • summer
  • summer solstice
  • summer time
  • summering
  • summerlike
  • summerly
  • summertide
  • summertime
  • summery
  • sun
  • sunny season
  • time
  • time of year
  • tropical
  • twelvemonth
  • vacation
  • warm season
  • warm weather
  • weekend
  • winter
  • year


The term dark winter can refer to a couple of different things. First, the term dark winter can refer to an exercise that sought to prepare the United States for a biochemical attack and see where there were areas of improvement. Second, Joe Biden used the term dark winter to refer to the coronavirus pandemic.  


  1. Winter Synonyms | Power Thesaurus 
  2. About the Gov Exercise | Dark Winter | Johns Hopkins
  3. ​​Summer Synonyms | Power Thesaurus 
  4. Dark Winter | ​​ Nice Translator