nocturnal

adjective
noc·​tur·​nal | \ näk-ˈtər-nᵊl How to pronounce nocturnal (audio) \

Definition of nocturnal

1 : of, relating to, or occurring in the night a nocturnal journey nocturnal activities
2 : active at night a nocturnal predator nocturnal insects, such as mosquitoes

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from nocturnal

nocturnally \ -​nᵊl-​ē How to pronounce nocturnally (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for nocturnal

Synonyms

night, nightly, nighttime

Antonyms

daily, diurnal

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of nocturnal in a Sentence

he bought a new telescope so he could pursue his favorite nocturnal hobby of astronomy

Recent Examples on the Web

Adults are nocturnal; fly from late spring to early summer. oregonlive.com, "Ask an Expert: Can you identify this very distinctive caterpillar?," 3 Aug. 2019 Keep in mind that plants with flowers may help attract moths, and plants with pale colored flowers also have a good chance of catching the eye of nocturnal insects. Emily O'brien, Good Housekeeping, "5 Ways To Attract Bats To Your Yard," 20 Oct. 2016 Cleveland Metroparks regularly present programs for visitors with nocturnal impulses. cleveland.com, "Full moon hike offers brief glimpse of night programs at Cleveland Metroparks," 14 Sep. 2019 Barn owls are skilled nocturnal hunters, swooping across open landscapes to scout out small rodents that scurry below. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Moonlight Helps White Barn Owls Stun Their Prey," 4 Sep. 2019 Scavengers by nature and mostly nocturnal, roaches are accustomed to creeping around after-hours for desirable snacks like leftover food scraps or damp cardboard. Natalie Schumann, Country Living, "How To Get Rid of Roaches Before They Become a Major Problem," 18 July 2019 Currently, many studies rely on mice, which are nocturnal, to investigate sleep. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Little, Transparent Fish Show Sleep Is at Least 450 Million Years Old," 12 July 2019 But our wussy little furball ancestors were nocturnal, and colorblind. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "Why We See the Colors of Faces Differently Than Other Things," 8 July 2019 The area surrounding our hotel was attractive during the daytime, but after nightfall the city transformed itself into a nocturnal kaleidoscope of color, especially down by the bay. Doug Hansen, chicagotribune.com, "Beautifully modern Singapore," 20 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nocturnal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of nocturnal

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nocturnal

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French & Late Latin; Anglo-French nocturnel, borrowed from Late Latin nocturnālis "for night use," from Latin nocturnus "of or occurring at night" (from noct-, nox night entry 1 + -urnus, temporal suffix, as in diurnus "of the day") + -ālis -al entry 1 — more at journal

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about nocturnal

Dictionary Entries near nocturnal

Noctuidae

noctule

nocturn

nocturnal

nocturnality

nocturne

nocuous

Statistics for nocturnal

Last Updated

11 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nocturnal

The first known use of nocturnal was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for nocturnal

nocturnal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of nocturnal

: active mainly during the night
formal : happening at night

nocturnal

adjective
noc·​tur·​nal | \ näk-ˈtər-nᵊl How to pronounce nocturnal (audio) \

Kids Definition of nocturnal

1 : happening at night a nocturnal journey
2 : active at night nocturnal insects

nocturnal

adjective
noc·​tur·​nal | \ näk-ˈtərn-ᵊl How to pronounce nocturnal (audio) \

Medical Definition of nocturnal

1 : of, relating to, or occurring at night nocturnal myoclonus
2 : characterized by nocturnal activity a nocturnal form of filariasis

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on nocturnal

What made you want to look up nocturnal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a topic to which one constantly reverts

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!