Nocturnal is a familiar word, meaning "pertaining to the night". But are there words referring to other times of the day?
This week we'll look at time-words, including several of that sort. We are supplementing a previous theme of time words, called It's About Time.
vespertine – of, related to or happening in the evening
[Vespertine flowers bloom in the evening.]
– O. Henry, Lost on Dress Parade
Will you let me go upstairs and change into something a little more vespertine?
– Stephen Fry, Revenge: A Novel
"vespertine" is new to me, although I know the term "vespers," a Christian worship service that takes place during the late afternoon or evening.This message has been edited. Last edited by: saranita,
postprandial – after a meal; particularly after dinner
Sometimes much after, as in the following case.
– New York Times, Oct. 15, 2003
Wow - what an interesting story! Just goes to show ya, you have to get to know the culture!
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
If vespertine means pertaining to the evening, what word means pertaining to the morning?
matutinal – relating to the early morning, esp. the period just after waking
– Edna Ferber So Big
Yesterday we answered the question, "If vespertine means pertaining to the evening, what word means pertaining to the morning?" Today let's ask, "If postprandial means 'after dinner', what word means 'before breakfast'?
antejentacular – before breakfast
This word is seriously obscure, not to say odd. It seems to be Jeremy Bentham's coinage, but I don't find it ever used in context (one does not count "look at this word" as a 'use in context'). Thus, even though OED lists the term, it is not used frequently enough to be considered an 'accepted word' by normal standards.
– The Gentleman's Magazine, January, 1841
You know instinctively that anyone who calls his morning walks something as pompous as "antejentacular circumgyrations" is likely to be pretty cut off from life.
– David Boyle, The Sum of Our Discontent
crepuscular – resembling or relating to twilight
– Simon Winchester, Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883
In the ? good old days, Doctors wrote parts of their prescriptions for patients in Latin or in arcane codes for the pharmacist to dispense. Many drugs were prescribed twice or thrice daily after food, i.e. postprandially. The alternative, but almost identical expression was post cibum, abbreviated to p.c. And a drug taken before meals—ante cibum was designated a.c.
So if your GP is of archaic habits you may read:
R/ Aspirin 300 mg. tid. pc
I may reveal the origins of symbols R/, and t.i.d. if your curiosity is aroused. (Always assuming that the doctor's script is legible).
I remember being struck by the phrase "postprandial perambulations" in something I read years ago. I think it was a PG Wodehouse novel but that could be memory playing tricks. Anyway it's a much better phrase than "after dinner walk".
"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
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Crepuscular is also often applied to the habits of animals, including certain humans. Bats, midges, many owls, certain mosquitoes and some armadilloes are familiar examples. Don't reply with an exhaustive list, please, it might put me to sleep.
If crepuscular refers to twilight, what word refers to dawn?
aurorean – belonging to dawn, or resembling it in brilliant hue
This is a rarely-used word. I'll illusttrate it with a beautiful metaphoric usage.
– George Merideth, The Ordeal of Richard Feverel
Nathaniel Ward liked to coin words. One page of his 1647 work has five words which, according to OED, no one else used before or since: nudiustertian, nugiperous, exadverse, mong (in his sense) and drossock.
So his usage is the only source from which to find what those words mean. I disagree with OED’s definition for nudiustertian, which several word-lists copy. OED looks to the Latin root; I look to Ward’s use. I’ll quote, and leave you to decide for yourself.
nudiustertian – pertaining to the day before yesterday (OED)
nudiustertian – the very latest, as fashion (Wordcrafter)
All very difficult. I am sure the OED’s literal translation < nudius tertius the day before yesterday, lit. ‘today the third day’, from the 2nd century> is correct. But the interpretation is clearly arguable. When we presently speak of ‘yesterday’s man’, we mean someone dated, and out of current fashion. But, maybe the Romans had a different connotation, implying that it was indeed something very recent and new, as stated by Wordcrafter and indeed by Mr Ward.
I am not a disciple of Eris, so unless I were in in fastuous mood, It’s not a word I would be likely to slip into conversation too readily. But I must say it is an impressive if somewhat Ciceronian term.
Ahem, Ahem, Ahem
sennight – seven days and nights (half a fortnight)
This word, once common, lost out to the briefer week.
– Philippa Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl
WC, sennight — that's a beauty. I shall pinch it, and use it about all the younger ladies I like, before they can justly dismiss me as a boring, stupid, old has-been.
Which reminds me of the pre-emptive policies of your great intellectual giant in domus alba.
Maybe I should get a life or something, but I have actually used sennight occasionally, often to the bemusement of my audience.
I think the last time was a couple of months ago, when I was taking a week's leave from work, and, as I left, called out to my colleagues "See you all in a sennight!"
Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
How else ought one to refer to a half fortnight or hebdomad? Week? How weak!
—Ceci n'est pas un seing.