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twilight

[twahy-lahyt] /ˈtwaɪˌlaɪt/
noun
1.
the soft, diffused light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon, either from daybreak to sunrise or, more commonly, from sunset to nightfall.
2.
the period in the morning or, more commonly, in the evening during which this light prevails.
3.
a terminal period, especially after full development, success, etc.:
the twilight of his life.
4.
a state of uncertainty, vagueness, or gloom.
adjective
5.
of, pertaining to, or resembling twilight; dim; obscure:
in the twilight hours.
6.
appearing or flying at twilight; crepuscular.
Origin
late Middle English
1375-1425
1375-1425; late Middle English; see twi-, light1
Related forms
twilighty, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for twilight
  • Outside, the trees on the plaza start to fade into twilight.
  • Gels live in a kind of chemical twilight zone where they share many properties of both phases of matter.
  • It was an appropriate time of day, as the entire shuttle program has entered its twilight hours.
  • He stepped out into the twilight, looked back upon the narrow little pulpit with a weary smile, and locked the door.
  • The tremulous glow of the noon, the twilight on harvests of corn.
  • She possessed wisdom and a sense of satisfaction with her life that made me actually look forward to the twilight years.
  • Because they roam so widely and are active mostly at twilight, jaguars have long proved a challenge to study.
  • twilight throws off the night-vision goggles used by helicopter patrols.
  • Thus their conversations began every evening beginning at twilight.
  • But since that time she'd begun to notice at twilight a curious glistening to the air.
British Dictionary definitions for twilight

twilight

/ˈtwaɪˌlaɪt/
noun
1.
the soft diffused light occurring when the sun is just below the horizon, esp following sunset related adjective crepuscular
2.
the period in which this light occurs
3.
the period of time during which the sun is a specified angular distance below the horizon (6°, 12°, and 18° for civil twilight, nautical twilight, and astronomical twilight, respectively)
4.
any faint light
5.
a period in which strength, importance, etc, are waning: the twilight of his life
6.
(modifier)
  1. of or relating to the period towards the end of the day: the twilight shift
  2. of or relating to the final phase of a particular era: the twilight days of the Bush presidency
  3. denoting irregularity and obscurity: a twilight existence
Derived Forms
twilit (ˈtwaɪˌlɪt) adjective
Word Origin
C15: literally: half-light (between day and night), from Old English twi- half + light1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for twilight
n.

late 14c. (twilighting), a compound of twi- + light (n.) Cognate with Dutch tweelicht (16c.), German zwielicht. Exact connotation of twi- in this word is unclear, but it appears to refer to "half" light, rather than the fact that twilight occurs twice a day. Cf. also Sanskrit samdhya "twilight," literally "a holding together, junction," Middle High German zwischerliecht, literally "tweenlight." Originally and most commonly in English with reference to evening twilight but occasionally used of morning twilight (a sense first attested mid-15c.). Figurative extension is first recorded c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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