AskDefine | Define night

Dictionary Definition



1 the time after sunset and before sunrise while it is dark outside [syn: nighttime, dark] [ant: day]
2 the time between sunset and midnight; "he watched television every night"
3 the period spent sleeping; "I had a restless night"
4 the dark part of the diurnal cycle considered a time unit; "three nights later he collapsed"
5 darkness; "it vanished into the night"
6 a shortening of nightfall; "they worked from morning to night"
7 a period of ignorance or backwardness or gloom
8 Roman goddess of night; daughter of Erebus; counterpart of Greek Nyx [syn: Nox]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Night



From , from niht, from , from .


  • /naɪt/
  • /naIt/
  • Rhymes with: -aɪt


Alternative spellings


  1. The period between sunset and sunrise, when a location faces far away from the sun, thus when the sky is dark.
  2. An evening or night spent at a particular activity.
    a night on the town
  3. A night (and part of the days before and after it) spent in a hotel or other accommodation.
    We stayed at the Hilton for five nights.
  4. The quality of sleep obtained during a night.
    I had a bad night last night.
  5. Nightfall.
    from noon till night
  6. Darkness.
    The cat disappeared into the night.




period between sunset and sunrise
evening or night spent at a particular activity
  • Czech: večer
  • Danish: aften
  • Dutch: avondje , nachtje
  • Finnish: ilta, yö
  • French: soirée, nuit
  • German: Abend , in bed: Nacht
  • Hebrew: לילה (lailah)
  • Hungarian: éjszakázás
  • Icelandic: nótt
  • Japanese: 一晩
  • Kurdish:
    Sorani: شه‌و
  • Malay: bermalam
  • Maltese: lejla
  • Norwegian: aften
  • Portuguese: noitada , noite
  • Sindhi: (shāma)
  • Slovak: večer
  • Spanish: tarde
  • Vietnamese: đêm
night spent at a hotel
quality of sleep obtained during a night
See nightfall


  1. Short for good night
    Night all! Thanks for a great evening!


Short for good night

Extensive Definition

Night or nighttime is the period of time when the sun is below the horizon. The opposite of night is day (or "daytime" to distinguish it from "day" as used for a 24-hour period). Time of day varies based on factors such as season, latitude, longitude and timezone.

Duration and geography

Nights are shorter than days on average due to two factors. One, the sun is not a point, but has an apparent size of about 32 minutes of arc. Two, the atmosphere refracts sunlight so that some of it reaches the ground when the sun is below the horizon by about 34 minutes of arc. The combinaton of these two factors means that light reaches the ground when the centre of the sun is below the horizon by about 50 minutes of arc. Without these effects, day and night would be the same length at the autumnal (autumn/fall) and vernal (spring) equinoxes, the moments when the sun passes over the equator. In reality, around the equinoxes the day is almost 14 minutes longer than the night at the equator, and even more closer to the poles. The summer and winter solstices mark the shortest night and the longest night, respectively.
The closer a location is to the North or South Pole, the larger the range of variation in the night's length. Although equinoxes occur with a day and night close to equal length, before and after an equinox the ratio of night to day changes more rapidly in locations near the poles than in locations between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. In the Northern Hemisphere, Denmark has shorter nights in June than India has. In the Southern Hemisphere, Antarctica has longer nights in June than Chile has. The Northern and Southern Hemispheres of the world experience the same patterns of night length at the same latitudes, but the cycles are 6 months apart so that one hemisphere experiences long nights (winter) while the other is experiencing short nights (summer).
Between the pole and the polar circle, the variation in daylight hours is so extreme that for a portion of the summer, there is no longer an intervening night between consecutive days and in the winter there is a period that there is no intervening day between consecutive nights.

On other celestial bodies

The phenomenon of day and night is due to the rotation of a celestial body about its axis, creating the illusion of the sun rising and setting. Different bodies spin at very different rates, however. Some may spin much faster than Earth, while others spin extremely slowly, leading to very long days and nights. The planet Venus rotates once every 243 days – by far the slowest rotation period of any of the major planets. In contrast, the gas giant Jupiter's sidereal day is only 9 hours and 56 minutes. A planet may experience large temperature variations between day and night, such as Mercury, the closest planet to the sun. This is one consideration in terms of planetary habitability or the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

Impact on life

The disappearance of sunlight, the primary energy source for life on Earth, has dramatic impacts on the morphology, physiology and behavior of almost every organism. Some animals sleep during the night, while other nocturnal animals including moths and crickets are active during this time. The effects of day and night are not seen in the animal kingdom alone, plants have also evolved adaptations to cope best with the lack of sunlight during this time. For example, crassulacean acid metabolism in a unique type of carbon fixation which allows photosynthetic plants to store carbon dioxide in their tissues as organic acids during the night, which can then be used during the day to synthesize carbohydrates. This allows them to keep their stomata closed during the daytime, preventing transpiration of precious water.

Humans and the night

Social and economic factors

Night is often associated with danger and evil, because bandits and dangerous animals can be concealed by darkness. The belief in magic often includes the idea that magic and magicians are more powerful at night. Similarly, mythical and folkloric creatures as vampires, and werewolves are thought to be more active at night. Ghosts are believed to wander around almost exclusively during night-time. In almost all cultures, there exist stories and legends warning of the dangers of night-time. In fact, the Saxons called the darkness of night the 'death mist'.


night in Arabic: ليل
night in Aymara: Aruma
night in Azerbaijani: Gecə
night in Bulgarian: Нощ
night in Catalan: Nit
night in Czech: Noc
night in Chamorro: Puengi
night in Welsh: Nos
night in Danish: Nat (tidsrum)
night in Pennsylvania German: Nacht
night in German: Nacht
night in Spanish: Noche
night in Esperanto: Nokto
night in Basque: Gau
night in French: Nuit
night in Korean: 밤 (시간)
night in Ido: Nokto
night in Indonesian: Malam
night in Italian: Notte (parte del giorno)
night in Hebrew: לילה
night in Latin: Nox
night in Latvian: Nakts
night in Lithuanian: Naktis
night in Macedonian: Ноќ
night in Malayalam: രാത്രി
night in Erzya: Ве
night in Dutch: Nacht
night in Newari: इरवु (तमिल संकिपा)
night in Japanese: 夜
night in Norwegian: Natt
night in Norwegian Nynorsk: Natt
night in Narom: Nyit
night in Portuguese: Noite
night in Romanian: Noapte
night in Quechua: Tuta
night in Russian: Ночь
night in Sicilian: Notti
night in Slovak: Noc
night in Finnish: Yö
night in Swedish: Natt
night in Tamil: இரவு
night in Ukrainian: Ніч
night in Yiddish: נאכט
night in Contenese: 夜晚
night in Samogitian: Naktės
night in Chinese: 晚上

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Egyptian darkness, Erebus, all the time, all-night, blackness, ceaselessly, charcoal, coal, continually, continuously, crow, dark, dark of night, darkness, darkness visible, dead of night, dusk, ebon, ebony, endlessly, evening, evensong, eventide, gloaming, incessantly, ink, intense darkness, jet, lightlessness, midnight, moonlessness, night and day, night-fallen, nightfall, nightlong, nightly, nighttide, nighttime, nocturnal, obscure, obscure darkness, obscurity, pitch, pitch-darkness, pitchy darkness, raven, round-the-clock, sable night, sloe, smoke, smut, soot, starlessness, sundown, sunlessness, sunset, swarthiness, tar, tenebrosity, tenebrousness, the palpable obscure, total darkness, twilight, unceasingly, unendingly, velvet darkness, vespers
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