1. That part of the natural day when the sun is beneath the horizon, or the time from sunset to sunrise; esp., the time between dusk and dawn, when there is no light of the sun, but only moonlight, starlight, or artificial light.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. --Gen. i. 5.
2. Hence: (a) Darkness; obscurity; concealment.
Nature and nature's laws lay hid in night. --Pope.
(b) Intellectual and moral darkness; ignorance. (c) A state of affliction; adversity; as, a dreary night of sorrow. (d) The period after the close of life; death.
She closed her eyes in everlasting night. --Dryden.
(e) A lifeless or unenlivened period, as when nature seems to sleep. “Sad winter's night”.
Note: ☞ Night is sometimes used, esp. with participles, in the formation of self-explaining compounds; as, night-blooming, night-born, night-warbling, etc.
Night by night, Night after night, nightly; many nights.
So help me God, as I have watched the night,
Ay, night by night, in studying good for England. --Shak.
-- Night bird. Zool. (a) The moor hen (Gallinula chloropus). (b) The Manx shearwater (Puffinus Anglorum).
Night blindness. Med. See Hemeralopia.
Night cart, a cart used to remove the contents of privies by night.
Night churr, Zool., the nightjar.
Night crow, a bird that cries in the night.
Night dog, a dog that hunts in the night, -- used by poachers.
Night fire. (a) Fire burning in the night. (b) Ignis fatuus; Will-o'-the-wisp; Jask-with-a-lantern.
Night flyer Zool., any creature that flies in the night, as some birds and insects.
night glass, a spyglass constructed to concentrate a large amount of light, so as see objects distinctly at night. --Totten.
Night green, iodine green.
Night hag, a witch supposed to wander in the night.
Night hawk Zool., an American bird (Chordeiles Virginianus), allied to the goatsucker. It hunts the insects on which it feeds toward evening, on the wing, and often, diving down perpendicularly, produces a loud whirring sound, like that of a spinning wheel. Also sometimes applied to the European goatsuckers. It is called also bull bat.
Night heron Zool., any one of several species of herons of the genus Nycticorax, found in various parts of the world. The best known species is Nycticorax griseus, or Nycticorax nycticorax, of Europe, and the American variety (var. naevius). The yellow-crowned night heron (Nyctanassa violacea syn. Nycticorax violaceus) inhabits the Southern States. Called also qua-bird, and squawk.
Night house, a public house, or inn, which is open at night.
Night key, a key for unfastening a night latch.
Night latch, a kind of latch for a door, which is operated from the outside by a key.
Night monkey Zool., an owl monkey.
night moth Zool., any one of the noctuids.
Night parrot Zool., the kakapo.
Night piece, a painting representing some night scene, as a moonlight effect, or the like.
Night rail, a loose robe, or garment, worn either as a nightgown, or over the dress at night, or in sickness. [Obs.]
Night raven Zool., a bird of ill omen that cries in the night; esp., the bittern.
Night rule. (a) A tumult, or frolic, in the night; -- as if a corruption, of night revel. [Obs.] (b) Such conduct as generally rules, or prevails, at night.
What night rule now about this haunted grove? --Shak.
Night sight. Med. See Nyctolopia.
Night snap, a night thief. [Cant]
Night soil, human excrement; -- so called because in cities it is collected by night and carried away for manure.
Night spell, a charm against accidents at night.
Night swallow Zool., the nightjar.
Night walk, a walk in the evening or night.
Night walker. (a) One who walks in his sleep; a somnambulist; a noctambulist. (b) One who roves about in the night for evil purposes; specifically, a prostitute who walks the streets.
Night walking. (a) Walking in one's sleep; sleep walking; somnambulism; noctambulism. (b) Walking the streets at night with evil designs.
Night warbler Zool., the sedge warbler (Acrocephalus phragmitis); -- called also night singer. [Prov. Eng.]
Night watch. (a) A period in the night, as distinguished by the change of watch. (b) A watch, or guard, to aford protection in the night.
Night watcher, one who watches in the night; especially, one who watches with evil designs.
Night witch. Same as Night hag, above.
Note: ☞ The full text of the poem follows:
T'was the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads;
And Mama in her kerchief and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave the luster of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer!, Now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid!, On, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!!”
As the dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew,
With a sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas, too.
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye, and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went staight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk,
And laying a finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
n 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
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
7: a period of ignorance or backwardness or gloom
8: Roman goddess of night; daughter of Erebus; counterpart of
Greek Nyx [syn: Nox]