noc·​turne ˈnäk-ˌtərn How to pronounce nocturne (audio)
: 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 Gershwin took a while to hit its stride and was never totally immune to stalling, but the hazy urban nocturne of the second movement was a high point. Globe Staff,, 21 Aug. 2023 The allure of night is one of the great cultural discoveries of the Romantic era, with its twilight landscapes and piano nocturnes, and Eklöf’s book is, sometimes knowingly and sometimes not, a Romantic one. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 20 Feb. 2023 Saturday’s concert pairs the Chopin with two barcarolles and a nocturne by Fauré. oregonlive, 15 Jan. 2023 The experience is no less expansive than seeing the ocean or hearing a Chopin nocturne for the first time. New York Times, 22 Feb. 2022 What’s more irritating than straining to hear the delicate notes of a Chopin nocturne while the man next to you takes an eternity to extract a lozenge from its crinkly cellophane wrapper? Matthew J. Palm,, 23 Aug. 2021 The first wistful notes of the fourth movement nocturne coincided with the first drops of a sudden rainstorm, which sent some lawn listeners to the exits early., 2 Aug. 2021 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, 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,, 6 Dec. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nocturne.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1814, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nocturne was in 1814

Dictionary Entries Near nocturne

Cite this Entry

“Nocturne.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


noc·​turne ˈnäk-ˌtərn How to pronounce nocturne (audio)
: a work of art dealing with evening or night
especially : a dreamy composition for the piano

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