"noon" is the term for the middle of the day, round about 12.00 to 13.00, and "midnight" is from 24.00 to 1.00, at night. "midnight" is just basically a prefix added to "night", whereas "noon" is a completely different word.

Why is it "midnight", and not some term like "noon"? Is there actually a term for "midnight", that is the equivalent of "noon"?

  • Look at the wikipedia entry for noon. It's interesting and tells you everything you need to know. Plus if there really was an equivalent term, you would already know it! – z7sg Ѫ Jun 4 '11 at 11:33
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    It was "midday" which is changed to "noon", maybe "midnight" will be changed to something, who knows. – Gigili Jun 4 '11 at 12:10
  • How about "Nadir?" There doesn't seem to be a specific English word which describes a moment in time which is the opposite of noon, so we'll borrow this one. – Andrew Lambert Jun 4 '11 at 17:51
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    -1; Midnight isn't "just" night with a prefix. It is a word and it has a history. You are asking for a word that means the same thing with an alternate history. If you were just asking for synonyms of midnight, this would be an interesting question. As it is, you want an antonym of noon that doesn't include "day"? The interesting part of this question has been buried in unneeded details. Just ask for synonyms of midnight. – MrHen Jun 4 '11 at 22:01

While there is not a one-word term for midnight similar to noon, there are several poetic phrases for the middle of the night such as dead of night and hush of night. And from Longfellow's "The Goblet of Life", we have the interesting noonday night:


And also these fun phrases from "The Two Rivers":


And of course there's this from Shakespeare's Hamlet:


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    I think Longfellow's "noonday night" actually refers to daytime: this is a reference to scene in the Iliad where some god or other has sent a thick fog to turn day to darkness, and Ajax prays to have the fog lifted. – Marthaª Jun 6 '11 at 18:19
  • @Martha: I think you are right. I questioned it myself and decided to ask this question: What exactly is “noonday night”?. – Callithumpian Jun 6 '11 at 18:50

My Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus says the antonym for midnight is "midday" as you said.

It might interest you to know the etymology for Noon is this one:

Old English nōn [the ninth hour from sunrise, i.e., approximately 3 p.m.,] from Latin nona (hora).

Now the term indicates "twelve o'clock", but the original term used to refer to a completely different hour, so basically "early afternoon", as you can see from that etymology (that usage is classified as obsolete by the Oxford English Dictionary).

  • Interesting! Thank you very much. However, that still doesn't prove whether or not "noon" has a "midnight" equivalent. – Thursagen Jun 4 '11 at 11:36
  • @Ham and Bacon: You asked whether "midnight" had a "noon" equivalent, not the other way around. – Robusto Jun 4 '11 at 12:07
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    Nothing proves that there isn't such a word. Many people tell you that there isn’t, but you’re free not to believe them. You cannot expect them to “prove” it, though… – F'x Jun 4 '11 at 12:10
  • @Robusto, Yep, I mean," it still doesn't prove whether or not "midnight" has a "noon" equivalent. – Thursagen Jun 4 '11 at 12:15
  • @Ham and Bacon: Even here it says "The opposite of noon is midnight". But on the OED it says "4. A. The time of night corresponding to mid-day; midnight. Chiefly in phr. (the) noon of night. B. The place of the moon at midnight." Although I think it's pretty uncommon and not used. – Alenanno Jun 4 '11 at 12:20

Midnight is the equivalent for noon: they both refer to a specific moment in time, and the times very close to them.

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    The thing is "midnight" is just "night" with a prefix, where as "noon" is a completely different word, not like "midday" – Thursagen Jun 4 '11 at 11:24
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    "midnight" is the antonym for "noon". There is no other single word for it. – teylyn Jun 4 '11 at 11:35

If twelve o'clock in the day is "high noon", perhaps someone could popularise the term "low noon" for midnight?

(Not for a moment suggesting anyone has used this phrase in this way before.)


Opposite of noon is anti-noon better known as midnight. Midnight is midnight since it is mid (middle) of the night.

protected by RegDwigнt Jun 5 '11 at 9:08

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