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twilight

[twahy-lahyt]
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noun
  1. the soft, diffused light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon, either from daybreak to sunrise or, more commonly, from sunset to nightfall.
  2. the period in the morning or, more commonly, in the evening during which this light prevails.
  3. a terminal period, especially after full development, success, etc.: the twilight of his life.
  4. a state of uncertainty, vagueness, or gloom.
adjective
  1. of, relating to, or resembling twilight; dim; obscure: in the twilight hours.
  2. appearing or flying at twilight; crepuscular.

Origin of twilight

late Middle English word dating back to 1375–1425; see origin at twi-, light1
Related formstwi·light·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for twilight

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The sun had gone down, and the twilight was fast losing itself in night.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • After twilight fell, she slowly walked the length of the Street.

    K

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The camp turns out to see the sunset and enjoy the twilight.

  • He lay as still as the stones beside him, and all was quiet again in the twilight.

    A Woman Tenderfoot

    Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson

  • The twilight was already coming on and it was perfectly still all around.


British Dictionary definitions for twilight

twilight

noun
  1. the soft diffused light occurring when the sun is just below the horizon, esp following sunsetRelated adjective: crepuscular
  2. the period in which this light occurs
  3. the period of time during which the sun is a specified angular distance below the horizon (6°, 12°, and 18° for civil twilight, nautical twilight, and astronomical twilight, respectively)
  4. any faint light
  5. a period in which strength, importance, etc, are waningthe twilight of his life
  6. (modifier)
    1. of or relating to the period towards the end of the daythe twilight shift
    2. of or relating to the final phase of a particular erathe twilight days of the Bush presidency
    3. denoting irregularity and obscuritya twilight existence
Derived Formstwilit (ˈtwaɪˌlɪt), adjective

Word Origin

C15: literally: half-light (between day and night), from Old English twi- half + light 1
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

Word Origin and History for twilight

n.

late 14c. (twilighting), a compound of twi- + light (n.) Cognate with Dutch tweelicht (16c.), German zwielicht. Exact connotation of twi- in this word is unclear, but it appears to refer to "half" light, rather than the fact that twilight occurs twice a day. Cf. also Sanskrit samdhya "twilight," literally "a holding together, junction," Middle High German zwischerliecht, literally "tweenlight." Originally and most commonly in English with reference to evening twilight but occasionally used of morning twilight (a sense first attested mid-15c.). Figurative extension is first recorded c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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