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I was listening to "We Own the Night", by "The Wanted" and I realized the phrase "we are only young if we seize the night".

Seize, in this case, sounds like enjoy, right? But, what's the contextual difference between them?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 16 down vote accepted

"Seize the night" comes from the Latin carpe noctem which is a pun of carpe diem (seize the day).

It comes from:

Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero

Which means:

"Seize the day while trusting little on what tomorrow might bring."

(From Horace, Odes I.xi.8)

It essentially means: Live today as if it's your last.

So, seize the night, in the context of the song, means: Live (party) like it's your last night.

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Then can I use seize for everything that I want to transmit more emotional emphasis than just a simple enjoy? –  Guilherme Oderdenge Apr 22 at 12:50
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@GuilhermeOderdenge That's subjective and completely relies on the context. As stated that in the context of the song it means this. Literally is means to own the night, which could mean something as mundane as 'Finish all your homework in one night' or 'Watch all your favorite Dexter episodes tonight' if you put it into that context. –  Tucker Apr 22 at 12:52
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in other words, it's Latin for YOLO? –  Dan Neely Apr 22 at 18:21
    
Tantum semel vivis –  Steve Apr 22 at 20:21
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@GuilhermeOderdenge if you are familiar with Portuguese then perhaps it would be better to think of this as "aproveitar". For example "seize the day" (aproveite o dia) means take advantage of the day, but "seize the hotdog" (aproveitar o hotdog) doesn't really mean "enjoy the hotdog" in English. –  Nathan Apr 23 at 1:32

to seize, to take possession of, to grab.. to convey the idea of owning the night, a figurative way to say to live the night fully, to get the best out of it.

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Seize in this case is used for "embrace". It implies more emotional energy than "enjoy"

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"Seize the night" is obviously a take on "Seize the day", which comes from the Latin expression "carpe diem". That is a well-known saying with a specific sense, so outside of that expression, you cannot generalize "seize" to any other meaning than "to take."

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"we are only young if we seize the night". Seize: to use legal or official power to take (something). In this instance it would be, we are only young if we take control of the night. Which probably accounts for the title of the song "We Own the Night".

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The difference between seize and enjoy is at least in part that to seize is to actively claim something or embrace it as one's own, whereas to enjoy can be passive, more on the order of just letting something happen. If you seize the night, you're behind the wheel and your foot is on the gas pedal; if you enjoy the night, you might only be along for the ride. To seize the night (or the day) is to declare an assertive intent to make the most of whatever is at hand.

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