sun·​set | \ ˈsən-ˌset How to pronounce sunset (audio) \

Definition of sunset

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the apparent descent of the sun below the horizon also : the accompanying atmospheric effects
2 : the time when the upper limb of the sun disappears below the horizon as a result of the diurnal rotation of the earth
3 : a period of decline especially : old age



Definition of sunset (Entry 2 of 3)

: stipulating the periodic review of government agencies and programs in order to continue their existence sunset laws


sunsetted; sunsetting

Definition of sunset (Entry 3 of 3)

1 transitive US : to cause or allow (something, such as a law) to lapse, end, or be terminated And yet, even though he was part of the coalition, Obama offered an amendment … that would have sunsetted the merit-based evaluation system for immigrants after five years.— Jake Tapper In an effort to cut back on projects, Google decided to sunset Google Reader …— Tristan Louis
2 intransitive US : to lapse or come to an end : expire laws that will sunset at the end of the year Since the credit will sunset at the end of 2016, its fate could rest in the hands of a new Congress and a new president—who might not necessarily see the value in reinstating the credit.— Eric S. Peterson

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Examples of sunset in a Sentence


We worked from sunrise to sunset. the golden light of sunset

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Standing on a balcony snapping photos of the evening’s sunset was Brent Williams of Orange Beach. John Sharp |, al, "Alabama beach engagement stirs heartwarming search, reactions on social media," 7 Sep. 2019 Even for Denver’s lofty standards, Monday night’s sunset was almost unreal. Chris Bianchi, The Denver Post, "What was with those crazy clouds over Denver Monday night?," 12 Aug. 2019 Brilliant sunsets are common in Chatham, but beware, there are also those nights when sudden blankets of fog roll in, interrupting or postponing games. Bill Higgins,, "Cape Cod baseball, where the grass is real and the price is right," 16 July 2019 Claim a table on the patio to enjoy the long golden hours of evening: June sunset here isn’t until 8:45 p.m. Choose a beer from the rotating list of local brews. Brian Coyne,, "One Day, One Place: Mount Shasta, California," 11 July 2019 Saturday’s official sunset was 11:42 p.m. and Sunday’s official sunrise was at 4:21 a.m. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "Fueled by coffee and Red Bulls, Anchorage softball players celebrate solstice with a tournament," 25 June 2019 Look for them on the milelong hike around Meadow Lake, and vote for your favorite. 7 a.m. till sunset, daily in October, at the Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle. Web Behrens,, "Labor Day is over, time to start planning for fall. Here’s a list of awesome family activities around Chicago.," 4 Sep. 2019 Catching the sunrise or sunset at either of these locales cannot be beat. Erika Owen, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Things to Do in Iceland: Our Definitive List," 16 Aug. 2019 The mayor’s grievances followed a proclamation from President Trump to lower flags at federal facilities to half-staff until sunset Thursday, in honor of those who died in mass shootings last weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Steve Rubenstein,, "San Rafael’s mayor fed up with gun violence, orders flags at half-staff until Congress acts," 8 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The trail is open from 8 a.m. to sunset each weekend day or until a maximum of 50 trail users is met for a particular day. Ramona Sentinel, "Old Survey Road 97 Trail opens to the public for three months," 15 Aug. 2019 From sun up to sunset and back to sun up is always something to do. Aundre Larrow, Teen Vogue, "“Recognize That This Is a Cage”: Two Formerly Incarcerated Women Recall Life on the Inside," 13 Aug. 2019 Old Survey Road 97 Trail open to the public, 8 a.m. to sunset weekends, 18600 Rangeland Road. Ramona Sentinel, "Our Town Calendar of Events: Aug. 15-21," 15 Aug. 2019 Federal laws will automatically sunset after a determined period of time. Emily Witt, The New Yorker, "How Andrew Yang’s Robot Apocalypse Can Heal a Divided Nation," 18 July 2019 Deukmejian Wilderness Park is open from 7 a.m. to sunset. Charles Fleming,, "L.A. Walks: Explore an old winery site on a La Crescenta ramble," 12 July 2019 Only rental units that are 10 years old or older would be covered, the bill would sunset after three years and landlords who own 10 or fewer single-family homes would be exempt. Marisa Kendall, The Mercury News, "Rent cap bill would limit rent hikes for millions of California households, report says," 9 July 2019 Reservations are issued in two shifts on a given Saturday, Sunday or holiday — 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to sunset. Erika Butler,, "First weekend of Kilgore Falls reservations goes well, Saturday and Sunday to be the test," 4 July 2019 The charge, which adds a few dollars to monthly electricity bills, is set to sunset in 2020. Taryn Luna,, "California needs a big pot of money for wildfires. But how big? And who pays?," 17 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sunset.' 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 sunset


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1974, in the meaning defined above


1976, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for sunset

Last Updated

21 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sunset

The first known use of sunset was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for sunset



English Language Learners Definition of sunset

: the time when the sun goes below the horizon in the evening
: the colors that are in the sky when the sun slowly goes below the horizon


sun·​set | \ ˈsən-ˌset How to pronounce sunset (audio) \

Kids Definition of sunset

1 : the apparent passing of the sun below the horizon
2 : the light and color of the passing of the sun below the horizon
3 : the time at which the sun sets



Legal Definition of sunset

: having or being a provision stipulating the termination or repeal of something (as a law, grant, or insurance coverage) on a specified date sunset laws requiring periodic review of programs to justify their continuance

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More from Merriam-Webster on sunset

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sunset

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sunset

Spanish Central: Translation of sunset

Nglish: Translation of sunset for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sunset for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sunset

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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