Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of, relating to, or occurring in the night: nocturnal stillness.
  • adj. Botany Having flowers that open during the night.
  • adj. Zoology Most active at night: nocturnal animals.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Primarily active during the night.
  • adj. Taking place at night.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of, pertaining to, done or occuring in, the night; ; -- opposed to diurnal.
  • adj. Having a habit of seeking food or moving about at night; ; -- of animals.
  • n. An instrument formerly used for taking the altitude of the stars, etc., at sea.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of or pertaining to the night; belonging to the night; used, done, or occurring at night: as, nocturnal cold; a nocturnal visit: opposed to diurnal.
  • Of or pertaining to a nocturn.
  • In zoology, active by night: as, nocturnal lepidopter.
  • Syn. 1 and See nightly.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. belonging to or active during the night
  • adj. of or relating to or occurring in the night

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin nocturnālis, from Latin nocturnus, from nox, noct-, night; see nekw-t- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • She'd been researching what she called "nocturnal pressing spirit attacks," or what scientific literature called sleep paralysis.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • Neighbors ... said they wouldn't rest until the large black snake, which appears to be nocturnal, is no longer free.

    Boing Boing

  • “The use of unguents and eye-powders and the dust of the road and the undesigned swallowing of saliva and the emission of seed in nocturnal pollution or at the sight of a strange woman and blooding and cupping; none of these things vitiates the fast.”

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • Madame Delmare had all the superstitions of a nervous, sickly Creole; certain nocturnal sounds, certain phases of the moon were to her unfailing presages of specific events, of impending misfortunes, and the night spoke to that dreamy, melancholy creature a language full of mysteries and phantoms which she alone could understand and translate according to her fears and her sufferings.

    Indiana

  • Both Sir Heinz Schorlin and Jungfrau Elizabeth Ortlieb kept their word and joined each other here -- to their extreme amazement, I should suppose, as to my knowledge they never met before -- to receive me, and thus had an interview which, however loudly they may contradict it, I call a nocturnal meeting.

    In the Fire of the Forge — Complete

  • Elizabeth Ortlieb kept their word and joined each other here -- to their extreme amazement, I should suppose, as to my knowledge they never met before -- to receive me, and thus had an interview which, however loudly they may contradict it, I call a nocturnal meeting.

    In the Fire of the Forge — Volume 02

  • Ortlieb kept their word and joined each other here -- to their extreme amazement, I should suppose, as to my knowledge they never met before -- to receive me, and thus had an interview which, however loudly they may contradict it, I call a nocturnal meeting.

    Complete Project Gutenberg Georg Ebers Works

  • It was not just the pain in his arthritic knees, which he ruefully referred to as his nocturnal visitor, that kept Fr.

    I’ll Walk Alone

  • A little more than two weeks ago, after 20 years of keeping dozens of hives on his nearly four acres on Plain Road, Harp suffered the first of what apiarists call a nocturnal "bear hit."

    Lance Mannion:

  • He calls his nocturnal Internet friends the Black Road.

    Trust Me-Jeff Abbott « The Merry Genre Go Round Reviews

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.