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 The ensemble backdrop is crystalline, misty sighs, while the solo cello line expands into melancholy arias without words; sometimes the tone is passionate, dark-hued nocturne, sometimes ethereal lullaby. New York Times, "Tyshawn Sorey: The Busiest Composer of the Bleakest Year," 1 Jan. 2021 Roberts made a jazz nocturne of the slow middle movement, his complex chords and original themes catapulting a Roaring ’20s work directly into the 21st century. Howard Reich,, "Chicago Philharmonic review: Marcus Roberts jazzes Gershwin’s Concerto in F," 6 Dec. 2019 The nocturne, marked Lento con gran espressione, begins with a brief, repeated introduction. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "Chopin’s Heart, Poland’s Spirit," 14 Mar. 2020 Sitting at his Petrof piano in his penthouse, Martins reels off Frédéric Chopin’s nocturnes with aplomb. Washington Post, "Brazilian piano legend plays again thanks to ‘magic’ gloves," 23 Jan. 2020 As Cai grew old in the 1980s, his son, Cai Wanghuai, played the nocturne to comfort him. The Economist, "How China made the piano its own," 18 Dec. 2019 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

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

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The first known use of nocturne was in 1814

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Statistics for nocturne

Last Updated

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nocturne.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of nocturne

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

More from Merriam-Webster on nocturne

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

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