midnight

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Middle English midnight, from Old English midniht, from Proto-Germanic *midjanahts (midnight), equivalent to mid- +‎ night. Cognate with Saterland Frisian Midnoacht (midnight), Old High German mittinaht (midnight), Danish midnat (midnight), Swedish midnatt (midnight), Icelandic miðnætti (midnight). Compare also Saterland Frisian Middernoacht (midnight), Dutch middernacht (midnight), German Mitternacht (midnight).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

midnight (countable and uncountable, plural midnights)

  1. The middle of the night: the sixth temporal hour, equidistant between sunset and sunrise.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:midnight
    Antonyms: noon, midday
    Thanks to its sonar, the narwhal can remain active even at midnight, unhindered by the darkness.
  2. Twelve o'clock at night exactly.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:midnight
    • 1906 August, Alfred Noyes, “The Highwayman”, in Poems, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., published October 1906, OCLC 28569419, part 2, stanza IV, pages 50–51:
      She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good! / She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood! / They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years, / Till, now, on the stroke of midnight, / Cold, on the stroke of midnight, / The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!
  3. (dice games) boxcars

Usage notes[edit]

  • (twelve o'clock): When attached to a specific date, such as "midnight on 12 July", it may be ambiguous as to whether the time refers to 00:00 (start of day) or 24:00 (end of day); this must be resolved with context.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Adjective[edit]

midnight (not comparable)

  1. (poetic) Utterly dark or black.
    • 2013, Sharon Ricklin, Ravenswynd Legends, page 143:
      Free and falling, his midnight hair flowed out all around us like a silk canopy.

See also[edit]