I always learnt "Dusk" to be the opposite of "Dawn" and used it like that until today when I am told it should be "Twilight".

The context is from following question which is asking us to complete the pattern


1)Dusk      2)Evening
3)Twilight  4)Morning

And the right answer is given as Twilight.

So if Twilight is opposite of Dawn then what is the opposite of Dusk? What is the common usage?

  • 3
    Welcome to EL&U. Who told you? What did a dictionary or other authoritative reference say? Twilight occurs at both dawn and dusk (both before sunrise and after sunset), but these are not precise terms. – choster Oct 15 '20 at 14:55
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    That so-called “right” answer they provided you with is anything but right. Any decent general reference will show that you were correct in considering dawn and dusk to be each other's opposite, just as daybreak and nightfall are. In many jurisdictions these terms have precise civil definitions related to astronomy for statutory use, whether the crepuscular twilight before astronomical sunrise or the gloaming twilight after astronomical sunset. – tchrist Oct 15 '20 at 15:25
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    @tchrist: crepuscular can refer to either the evening or the morning, as can twilight. So why would crepuscular twilight just refer to the morning? – Peter Shor Oct 15 '20 at 15:39
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    @PeterShor I agree with you, as I have always held crepuscule and twilight to be paired synonyms, but this is something of a minority use per the OED who say that crepuscular more often refers to the dawn twilight and gloaming more often to the dusk twilight. That said, they also state that this need not be invariably the case, providing citations as counterexamples. I could get behind the latter restriction, but the former one strikes me as odd. I may be tainted by familiarity with the wider Romance use where no such restriction exists; I don't know. – tchrist Oct 15 '20 at 15:48
  • So that the OP doesn't get lost in the erudite exchanges among the senior contributors to this site, the direct response to the question is: yes, you are right and whoever has put together the test is wrong, so obviously wrong that the matter is outside the scope of this site (which is devoted to the more subtle, less obvious aspects of the language). – jsw29 Oct 15 '20 at 21:36

Prologue (before the main event) - the Story - Epilogue (after the main event):

Dawn (before the main event) - Daylight/Daytime - Dusk (after the main event.)

Twilight come from Twilight = two + light (probably the light of the day (the sun) and the light of the night (the moon)


1. The light diffused by the reflection of the sun's rays from the atmosphere before sunrise, and after sunset; the period during which this prevails between daylight and darkness.

a. Generally.

c1440 Promptorium Parvulorum 505/1 Twylyghte, be-twyx þe day and þe nyghte, or nyghte and þe day, hesperus.

1796 J. Morse Amer. Universal Geogr. (new ed.) I. 52 The twilight is that faint light which opens the morning by little and little in the east, before the sun rises; and gradually shuts in the evening in the west, after the sun is set.

b. spec. Most commonly applied to the evening twilight, from sunset to dark night.

1412–20 J. Lydgate tr. Hist. Troy i. 2733 In þe twyliȝt whan þe day gan fade. [In the twilight when the day[light] began to fade.]

1836 W. Irving Astoria III. xlviii. 99 A chasm that looked dark and frightful in the gathering twilight.

c. Morning twilight, which lasts from daybreak to sunrise.

c1440 Promptorium Parvulorum 505/1 Twye lyghte, be-fore the day, diluculum.

1845 R. Browning How they brought Good News in Bells & Pomegranates No. VII: Dramatic Romances & Lyrics iii. 3 'Twas moonset at starting; but while we drew near Lokeren, the cocks crew and twilight dawned clear.

  • It needs to be made explicit what exactly the lengthy quotation contributes to the answer. – jsw29 Oct 15 '20 at 19:29
  • Clarity by way of example. – Greybeard Oct 16 '20 at 17:09

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