|1.||the period of darkness each 24 hours between sunset and sunrise, as distinct from day|
|2.||(modifier) of, occurring, working, etc, at night: a night nurse|
|3.||the occurrence of this period considered as a unit: four nights later they left|
|4.||the period between sunset and retiring to bed; evening|
|5.||the time between bedtime and morning: she spent the night alone|
|6.||the weather conditions of the night: a clear night|
|7.||the activity or experience of a person during a night|
|8.||(sometimes capital) any evening designated for a special observance or function|
|9.||nightfall or dusk|
|10.||a state or period of gloom, ignorance, etc|
|11.||make a night of it to go out and celebrate for most of the night|
|12.||night and day continually: that baby cries night and day|
|[Old English niht; compare Dutch nacht, Latin nox, Greek nux]|
"The fact that the Aryans have a common name for night, but not for day (q.v.), is due to the fact that they reckoned by nights." [Weekley]Cf. Ger. Weihnachten "Christmas." In early times, the day was held to begin at sunset, so O.E. monanniht "Monday night" was the night before Monday, or what we would call Sunday night. Nightclub "club open at night" is from 1894; nightspot in the same sense is from 1936. Nightstick (1887) so called because it was carried for night patrols. To work nights preserves the O.E. genitive of time. Night shift is attested from 1710 in the sense of "garment worn by a woman at night" (see shift); meaning "gang of workers employed after dark" is from 1839. Night soil "excrement" (1770) is so called because it was removed (from cesspools, etc.) after dark.
night and day
Also day and night. Continually, without stopping. This phrase is used either literally, as in The alarm is on night and day, or hyperbolically, as in We were working day and night on these drawings. Shakespeare put it by night and day in The Comedy of Errors (4:2): "Time comes stealing on by night and day."