Middle English Dictionary Entry

night n.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) The dark part of a day, night, nighttime; also, nightfall; as derk as ~, derk (mirk) as ~; verrei ~, the end of evening or twilight [see verrei adj.]; vulgar ~, the period from sundown to sunrise [see vulgar]; (b) hit com into (to) the ~, hit drou to (neighed, neighleched) ~, hit was (was woxen, wax) neigh ~, hit was neigh at the ~, etc., it was almost night, night approached; (c) night personified; also, in direct address; (d) in greeting: have nou god ~, good night; (e) privacy; bi (in) ~, in private.
(a) The night as a period or unit of time; (b) a (given or specified) night; a (certain) night of a month or season; marches ~; winteres ~; (c) the night before a certain day; mone ~, Sunday night; the evening or night before or of a feast day; al-halwen messe ~, al-halwe ~, the night before All Saints' Day; criste-masse ~ [see criste-mas(se 2. (a)]; ester ~, the night of Easter Sunday; forboden ~, holi ~, the night before a feast day; etc.
In proverbs and sayings.
In prep. phrases: (a) al-what ~, until nighttime; at ~, during the night, at night; also, in the evening; at (on) the ~ biforen, during the previous night; ayenes ~, near or about nightfall [see also ayen(es prep. 8. (b)]; (b) bi (in, on) night(es, of (upon) nightes, in the night, at night; (c) bi ~, by nightfall, by the time night comes; in (a, of, on, upon) the ~, at night, in the night; (d) bi al the ~, all night; bi al nightes, bi ech ~, every night; on (the) ~, for the night; (e) bi ~ and (ek) bi dai, bothe bi ~ and bi dai, bothe) bi ~ and dai, bi nightes and bi daies, bo (bothe) bi dai and bi ~, bothe in ~ and dai, etc., night and day, all the time, always; (f) bi ~ other bi dai, bi ~ or dai, bi dai or (bi) ~, outher bi dai or bi ~, bi dai (or) ~ or stounde, in the dai or ~, during the day or at night, at any time; bi ~ ne dai, bi dai ne (nor) bi ~, bi dai no bi night(es, neither (nouther) bi dai ne bi ~, in the dai ne ~, etc., not at any time, never; (g) er ~, by nightfall; forn to the ~, shortly before nighttime; fro ~ to ~, every night; fro dai to ~, day and night, continually; fro the morn ner to the ~, from morning till nearly night; (h) in (on, upon) a ~, in on ~, on an unspecified night, one night; in this ~, on this night, tonight; into (to) this ~, until tonight; on a ~, one evening; (i) of al the long ~, all night long; toward ~, at nightfall, in the evening; withinnen the ~, during the night, at night; fer withinnen (the) ~, wel withinnen ~, late in the evening; well after nightfall; withinnen the five (thridde) ~, before the end of the fifth (third) night.
In adverbial uses and adv. constructions: (a) the) ~, at night, by night, during the night; the long ~, for the whole night, all night long; the long nightes, at night; (b) on (a specified) night; on the (first, third, etc.) night; for (one or a number of) nights; a ~ or twein, for one or two nights; on dai ne on ~, for neither one day nor one night, for any length of time; this ~ thre, ?three nights ago, ?the past three nights.
In adv. phrases: (a) al (a, the) ~, al the hol (long) ~, al the ~ long, all night long, for the whole night; al long ~, all through the night; also, for the whole evening; (b) al that (ilke) ~, al thilke ~, all through that night, during that night; al that glad (long) ~, for that happy (long) night; al this ~, for all this night; (c) ech (everi, ilke) ~, every night; everi ~ and dai, every day; mani (a) ~, for or on many nights; no ~, not on any night, never; som ~, on one night; (d) the same (self) ~, thilke (same) ~, on the same night; that (ilke, same) ~, that ilke same ~, on or during that (very) night; (e) this (ilke, same) ~, tonight, on this night; this long ~, all night long tonight; this ~ that was, last night; (f) that (this) other ~, on a recent night, the other night.
In adv. phrases: (a) al the ~ and al the dai, al dai and al ~, all the time; al the dai and al the ~, for the whole day and night; bothe) ~ and dai, bo (bothe, the) dai and ~, as wel ~ as dai, day and night, all the time, constantly, continually; dai and ~, in the course of the day, in a whole day's time; always; (b) ech) ~ bi ~, night after night, every night; ~ and (bi) ~, continuously; (c) ~ or dai, dai other ~, night or day, at any time; (d) ~ ne dai (ne no stounde), dai ne ~, ~ nor dai, ne (no) ~ ne morwe, neither (never, nouther) ~ ne dai, nouther ~ no dai, neither night nor day, never.
(a) Darkness; -- esp. as contrasted with the light of heaven; (b) mental anguish, gloom; dethes ~; (c) the absence of spiritual illumination, spiritual or moral darkness; ignorance; the darkness of hell or sin, sinfulness; also, a time of ignorance and sin [quot.: WBible Rom.]; derk (dim, thester, swart, world) ~, helle(s ~, dai withouten ~; (d) the Day of Doom.
As a mistranslation of the Latin: a kind of pustule or blister.
In cpds. & combs.: (a) ~ brid, ~ foul, ~ crak, ~ croue, ~ raven [OE niht-hræfn]; a night bird, or one of several night birds, of uncertain genus and species; night owl, night raven; ~ cappe, a nightcap; hors ~ cappe, a halter for a horse; ~ chaier, a commode for use at night; ~ comere, a visitor who comes at night, a nocturnal thief; (b) nightes dede, a sinful or wicked deed; ~ deu, dew of the night; ~ drede (frai), a nightmare; ~ foul, a nocturnal bird; ~ genge [OE niht-genga], night(es verie, nightes mare, a goblin or evil spirit of the night; incubus; nightes (two night) gest [see gest 1. (b)]; nightes gestinge, lodging for a night; ~ goune, an outer garment worn in the evening, bathrobe, dressing gown; ~ kerchef, a kerchief worn on the head during the night; (c) ~ liinge, over-night stay; on (a) ~ nihstiȝ [OE], ?after fasting overnight; ~ planete (signe), a planet (zodiacal sign) that is effective at night [cp. dai planete, dai 13. (b); dai signe, dai 13. (d)]; night(es rest, rest for the night, a night's rest; ~ rouinge, navigation by night; (d) night(es sighte (visioun), a dream or vision that occurs during the night; ~ song [OE niht-sang], complin; nightes sorwe (tene), sorrow (affliction) of the night; night(es spel, a verbal charm for protection from evil spirits during the night; ~ thef, a robber who operates by night; a burglar, a sneak thief; also fig.; ~ thester, darkness of the night; nightes thesternesse, nocturnal darkness; fig. spiritual darkness or ignorance; night(es tide, night time; (e) ~ wacching (walkinge), prowling, lurking, or loitering at night; ~ wake(s, a vigil or wake kept with a corpse before burial; ~ waker (walker), a prowler, one who roams about by night, esp. with mischievous intent; ~ warde, a division of the night, nightwatch; maken the first ~, to keep the first watch of the night; ~ worm, a courtesan, prostitute.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • c1450 Siege Jerus.(1) (Add 31042)852 : Nyghtis tyde [vr. nyghtis time; Ld: Euereche a segge to þe soper ȝede…was no wo nempned Bot daunsyng…with dynnyng of pipis…alle þe nyȝt-tyme].
  • Note: send to night 6.(d)--per REL
    Note: ?the duration of the night
  • a1500(?c1450) Florence (Cmb Ff.2.38)1393 : Sche sente to the pope ouyr nyght.
  • Note: Glossed in Heffernan's edition as 'night before'
  • a1500 MSerm.Mol.(Adv 19.3.1)83 : And also that every mon schuld tye his ratons and his myse with a hors nyȝt-cappe, that is to sey, with a hors haltur.
  • Note: New cpd.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: Med., etc., see further J.Norri, Dictionary of Medical Vocabulary, s.v. night.