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

The city’s nocturnal world is, after all, still a relatively blank canvas. Vogue, "This All-Female DJ Collective Wants to Empower the Women of Shanghai’s Nocturnal World," 15 May 2019 Streetlights, signs and billboards interfere with the view of the heavens and with nocturnal animals whose cycles are disrupted, the astronomers say. Steve Rubenstein, San Francisco Chronicle, "Salesforce Tower light show loses out to the SF fog," 22 May 2018 However, unusual behavior, such as acting abnormally tame or a nocturnal animal being out in daylight, could be a sign of rabies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sarah Gantz, Philly.com, "Coyote captured in Center City euthanized," 27 Apr. 2018 Some people even experience nocturnal panic attacks, or overwhelming bouts of fear that rouse them from sleep. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "How Much Sleep Do I Need?," 21 Mar. 2019 Gaynor and her coauthors were surprised how commonly mammals switched over to nocturnal lifestyles, regardless of habitat type or intensity of human disturbance. Joshua Rapp Learn, Smithsonian, "Fear of Humans Is Forcing Daytime Animals Into Night Mode," 14 June 2018 People who have these nocturnal panic attacks are also likely to have them during the day, according to the Mayo Clinic. Korin Miller, SELF, "7 Reasons You Might Wake Up Gasping for Air," 2 Oct. 2018 His forms are matter-of-fact yet absurd; not surreal, but disturbing and haunting in their blunt, bare, cold realism and their moonlit, nocturnal palette. Lance Esplund, WSJ, "‘Metaphysical Masterpieces 1916-1920: Morandi, Sironi, and Carrà’ Review: Every Object’s Mysteries," 16 Jan. 2019 During this lunation, the sun and moon occupy the same sign, so there is no nocturnal illumination. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What November's Aquarius Horoscope Means for You," 28 Oct. 2018

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

7 Jun 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

to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!