Definitions

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

  • n. The diffused light from the sky during the early evening or early morning when the sun is below the horizon and its light is refracted by the earth's atmosphere.
  • n. The time of the day when the sun is just below the horizon, especially the period between sunset and dark.
  • n. Dim or diffused illumination.
  • n. A period or condition of decline following growth, glory, or success: in the twilight of his life.
  • n. A state of ambiguity or obscurity.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The soft light in the sky seen before the rising and (especially) after the setting of the sun, occasioned by the illumination of the earth’s atmosphere by the direct rays of the sun and their reflection on the earth.
  • n. The time when this light is visible; the period between daylight and darkness.
  • n. Any faint light through which something is seen; an in-between or fading condition.
  • adj. Pertaining to or resembling twilight.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The light perceived before the rising, and after the setting, of the sun, or when the sun is less than 18° below the horizon, occasioned by the illumination of the earth's atmosphere by the direct rays of the sun and their reflection on the earth.
  • n. faint light; a dubious or uncertain medium through which anything is viewed.
  • adj. Seen or done by twilight.
  • adj. Imperfectly illuminated; shaded; obscure.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon at morning and evening.
  • n. Hence, any faint light; partial darkness; shade.
  • n. Figuratively, an indistinct medium of perception; also, a state of faint or hazy mental illumination.
  • Belonging, pertaining, or peculiar to twilight; seen by twilight; crepuscular, as a hat or moth.
  • Faintly illuminated; shady; dim; obscure: either literally or figuratively.

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

  • adj. lighted by or as if by twilight
  • n. a condition of decline following successes
  • n. the time of day immediately following sunset
  • n. the diffused light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon but its rays are refracted by the atmosphere of the earth

Etymologies

Middle English twilighte : Old English twi-, two, half; see dwo- in Indo-European roots + Old English līht, light; see light1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English twilight, twyelyghte, from Old English twēonelēoht ("twilight"), equivalent to twi- (“double, half-”) +‎ light, literally ‘second light, half-light’. Cognate to Scots twa licht, twylicht, twielicht ("twilight"), Low German twilecht, twelecht ("twilight"), Dutch tweelicht ("twilight, dusk"), German Zwielicht ("twilight, dusk"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • "I'd never given much thought to how I would die - though I'd had reason enough in the last few months - but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this.
    I stared without breathing across the long room, into the dark eyes of the hunter, and he looked pleasantly back at me. Surely it was a good way to die, in the place of someone else, someone I loved. Noble, even. That ought to count for something.
    I knew that if I'd never gone to Forks, I wouldn't be facing death now. But, terrified as I was, I couldn't bring myself to regret the decision. When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it's not reasonable to grieve when it comes to an end.
    The hunter smiled in a friendly way as he sauntered forward to kill me."
    ~ Preface from the Twilight book out of the Twilight saga written by Stephenie Meyer

    June 18, 2010

  • Don't forget "twilight sleep" -- the semi-knockout concoction that patients often are given before/during minor surgery.

    June 22, 2008

  • "O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
    What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?"
    - Francis Scott Key, 'The Star-Spangled Banner', 1814.

    June 21, 2008

  • astronomical twilight, civil twilight, naval twilight.

    June 21, 2008

  • These poetic types never specify which definition of twilight they mean. Shockingly loose.

    June 21, 2008

  • "A few hours later, during dinner, which, naturally, was served in the dining-room, the lights would be turned on, even when it was still quite light out of doors, so that one saw before one's eyes, in the garden, among summerhouses glimmering in the twilight like pale spectres of evening, arbours whose glaucous verdure was pierced by the last rays of the setting sun and which, from the lamp-lit room in which one was dining, appeared through the glass no longer—as one would have said of the ladies drinking tea in the afternoon along the blue and gold corridor—caught in a glittering and dripping net, but like the vegetation of a pale and green aquarium of gigantic size lit by a supernatural light."

    -- Within a Budding Grove by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, Revised by D.J. Enright, p 536 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    April 26, 2008

  • I wrote a LOOONG paper on the history of this word last semester. It's a Middle English word.

    May 4, 2007

  • "The visions dancing in my mind
    The early dawn, the shades of time
    Twilight crawling through my windowpane
    Am I awake or do I dream?
    The strangest pictures I have seen
    Night is day and twilight's gone away"

    January 8, 2007