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[nok-turn] /ˈnɒk tɜrn/
noun, Music.
a piece appropriate to the night or evening.
an instrumental composition of a dreamy or pensive character.
Origin of nocturne
From the French word nocturne, dating back to 1860-65. See nocturn Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for nocturne
Historical Examples
  • A nocturne—yes; it was getting dark, and the sea was rising—that was the sound of the sea.

    Olive in Italy Moray Dalton
  • This nocturne is called a forerunner to the Chopin nocturnes.

    Old Fogy James Huneker
  • She pulled a volume of Chopin from the stand, and began the twelfth nocturne.

  • Schubert's 'Hedge Roses' for one, and that nocturne of your own for the other.

  • In fact it is so popular that when any one is asked to play "Chopin's nocturne," this one is meant.

    The Pianolist Gustav Kobb
  • Mr. Bowen: "Do you see any art quality in that nocturne, Mr. Jones?"

    The Gentle Art of Making Enemies

    James McNeill Whistler
  • The 'nocturne in black and gold' is not a serious work to me.

    The Gentle Art of Making Enemies

    James McNeill Whistler
  • The yacht in nocturne is the yacht I want, ought to have, and never shall have.

    When Winter Comes to Main Street

    Grant Martin Overton
  • Before the end of the nocturne carriage bells are heard outside.

  • From valse to nocturne, from sonata to prelude, her fancy ran.

    Nights in London

    Thomas Burke
British Dictionary definitions for nocturne


a short, lyrical piece of music, esp one for the piano
a painting or tone poem of a night scene
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for nocturne

1862, "composition of a dreamy character," from French nocturne, literally "composition appropriate to the night," noun use of Old French nocturne "nocturnal," from Latin nocturnus (see nocturnal). Said to have been coined c.1814 by John Field, who wrote many of them, in a style that Chopin mastered in his own works, which popularized the term.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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