Can you use "at dusk" to describe something at its later or final stage?

E.g. Does "at the dusk of the 20th century" make any sense at all? If not, is there any expression that would convey this meaning?

  • 5
    It's a poetic analogy, and it makes sense to me. But I wouldn't use it in a scientific journal. (In that forum, simply say at the end of the twentieth century.) Jul 30, 2020 at 21:11
  • Thanks Jason, that's all I was looking for. It's for a tweet actually, but wanted to double-check it.
    – daskas
    Jul 30, 2020 at 21:15

1 Answer 1


Although dawn is definitely used to refer to the onset or start of something, "the dawn of the twentieth century," I have never come across dusk being used in this way, despite "dawn to dusk" being a set phrase of opposites.

Google Books does contain a few examples, but they seem to be translations from German.

My preference would be for twilight (which is always associated with evening or the end of days, despite being equally valid in the morning) or something like fading years of the century.

That said, it's a poetic use of language which would not be misunderstood; but it is a poetic use of language.

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