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Millennia are made of centuries and decades, centuries of decades and years. Years are months, months of weeks, but not precisely. Days are made of hours, but what do we call the several imprecise periods in a day: morning, noon time, afternoon, evening, night?

I.e., answer this riddle, for which I have no answer: Days are made of these, which are themselves made of hours. What are they?

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If it is an actual riddle, the answer is probably something unexpected. –  T.E.D. Aug 12 '11 at 15:35

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I would say that the periods of a day are simply time periods. For example, the definition of morning time says it is:

the time period between dawn and noon

You could also call them periods. The definition of evening says:

  1. The period of decreasing daylight between afternoon and night.
  2. The period between sunset or the evening meal and bedtime: a quiet evening at home.
  3. A later period or time: in the evening of one's life.

Edit: A more specialized term, used in broadcast programming, is dayparting. That is,

In Broadcast programming, dayparting is the practice of dividing the day into several parts, during each of which a different type of radio programming or television programming apropos for that time is aired. Television programs are most often geared toward a particular demographic, and what the target audience typically engages in at that time. Arbitron, the leading audience measurement ratings service in the United States, divides a weekday into five dayparts: morning drive time (6-10 am), midday (10 am-3 pm), afternoon drive (3-7 pm), evenings (7 pm-12 midnight), and overnight (midnight-6 am; Arbitron generally does not measure during this time period).

You could adopt this term for the use you seek, although many people would not know its precise origin. The individual parts of the day could be termed dayparts.

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This is kind of unsatisfying. Eons, centuries and nanoseconds are also time periods. It maybe the best we can do, but it still disappoints. –  Hack Saw Aug 12 '11 at 6:55
    
@Hack Saw: I added another option. There really doesn't seem to be a name other than 'parts' or 'periods'. –  simchona Aug 12 '11 at 7:00
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I'll give some others a chance to chime in, but I feel a poem coming on. Thanks! –  Hack Saw Aug 12 '11 at 7:42

"Dayparting" is probably the correct technical term, but it's not one I've come across before. More commonly, these are simply "times of day".

They are of course often used as greetings "[Good] Morning" / "[Good] Evening" etc., and the common expression for someone being rude enough not to exchange such a greeting is "[he/she] wouldn't give me the time of day".

Admittedly the "time of day" could also be interpreted as a reference to the exact time - but that is more commonly just referred to as "time".

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