noc·​turne | \ ˈnäk-ˌtərn How to pronounce nocturne (audio) \

Definition of nocturne

: a work of art dealing with evening or night especially : a dreamy pensive composition for the piano — compare aubade sense 3

Examples of nocturne in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That tells us it’s not exactly a nocturne and certainly not a day scene. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Puzzling over Meaning in Winslow Homer’s Kissing the Moon," 7 Dec. 2019 After this, Connie Hegarty, piano, explores the development of the nocturne in her performance., "Community News For The West Hartford Edition," 2 Dec. 2019 The first systematic study of Freer’s amazing treasure trove of more than 50 watercolors by James McNeill Whistler and includes figures, landscapes, nocturnes and interiors. Roger Catlin, Smithsonian, "After More Than Eight Decades, These Exquisite Whistler Watercolors Make Their Public Debut," 18 June 2019 McDermott, unusually, makes the opera into a nocturne, with the sun setting at the end of Act One and all of Act Two taking place by night on the boardwalk. Larry Wolff, The New York Review of Books, "‘Così’ in Coney," 27 Mar. 2018 Douglas Brenner: Your flow of rich, moody colors from room to room reminds me of the paintings Whistler called nocturnes, or harmonies. Douglas Brenner, House Beautiful, "Alexander Doherty on Creating a Colorful Manhattan Apartment with Character," 2 Nov. 2012 This made the opening nocturne feel more contained, less disquieting, than when a soloist and conductor dig deeper into its brooding depths. John Von Rhein,, "Kavakos offers impeccable Shostakovich with CSO, but gutsy passion in short supply," 9 Mar. 2018 The James Reinish booth is blanketed with works by artists exhibited by Alfred Stieglitz, including his own photographs, a small, excellent, nearly abstract nocturne by Georgia O’Keeffe and a 1908 tribute to Cezanne’s bathers by Abraham Walkowitz. Roberta Smith, New York Times, "ADAA: A Fair to Remember Starts a Month of Art Show Madness," 1 Mar. 2018 Four arrangements of the fanfare are included on the album: the theme, prelude, nocturne and the full fanfare. Milwaukee, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Recordings of 'Fanfare for Lake Country' now available," 23 Jan. 2018

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

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First Known Use of nocturne

1814, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for nocturne

borrowed from French, noun derivative of nocturne "of the night," going back to Middle French, borrowed from Latin nocturnus — more at nocturnal

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Time Traveler for nocturne

Time Traveler

The first known use of nocturne was in 1814

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Statistics for nocturne

Last Updated

21 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Nocturne.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 27 January 2020.

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More Definitions for nocturne


How to pronounce nocturne (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of nocturne

: a piece of music especially for the piano that has a soft and somewhat sad melody

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More from Merriam-Webster on nocturne

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nocturne

Spanish Central: Translation of nocturne

Nglish: Translation of nocturne for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about nocturne

Comments on nocturne

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one that suddenly gains wealth or power

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