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Twelfth Night

noun
  1. the evening before Twelfth Day, formerly observed with various festivities.
  2. the evening of Twelfth Day itself.
  3. (italics) a comedy (1602) by Shakespeare.
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Origin of Twelfth Night

before 900; Middle English; Old English
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for twelfth night

Historical Examples of twelfth night

  • So the children began at once to plan for the Twelfth-night festival.

    Rafael in Italy

    Etta Blaisdell McDonald

  • Let all idle gazers, then, in the streets of London beware of Twelfth-night!

    The Book of Christmas

    Thomas K. Hervey

  • It is this,—that if you will send him word to come again, he will be here by Twelfth-night.

    The Mistletoe Bough

    Anthony Trollope

  • Do you know this is Twelfth-night—the night for telling fortunes?

    Throckmorton

    Molly Elliot Seawell

  • Perhaps you know why she went to the ball on Twelfth-Night in disguise!

    The Span o' Life

    William McLennan


British Dictionary definitions for twelfth night

Twelfth Night

noun
    1. the evening of Jan 5, the eve of Twelfth Day, formerly observed with various festal celebrations
    2. the evening of Twelfth Day itself
    3. (as modifier)Twelfth-Night customs
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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

twelfth night in Culture

Twelfth Night

A comedy by William Shakespeare. The two central characters are a twin brother and sister; each thinks that the other has been lost at sea. The sister disguises herself as a boy and goes to serve the duke of the country, a bitter man disappointed in love. The brother reappears and marries the woman whom the duke has been pursuing, and his sister marries the duke. Twelfth Night begins with the line “If music be the food of love, play on.”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.