Saturday, July 21, 2012


Evelyn wrote: “ I know that animals active at night are called nocturnal. Is there a similar word for animals that are active in the daytime?”

The word you are looking for is diurnal. It comes from the Latin word diurnalis, which meant daily. In turn, that came from the Latin word dies, day.

Let’s take a quick look at some words pertaining to day and night.

  • matutinal: of early morning. [< Latin matutinalis, of the morning.]
  • diurnal:  daily or by day. [< Latin diurnālis daily, < diēs day.]
  • hemerine:  of a day, daily. [< Greek hemera, day.] 
  • antemeridian: of the forenoon or morning.  [< Latin ante merīdiem, before noon.] 
  • meridian: of noon or midday. [< Latin merīdiānus, relating to midday.]
  • pomeridian: of the afternoon. [< Latin pōmerīdiānus, variant of postmerīdiānus. 
  • postmeridian: of the afternoon. [< Latin post, after, and meridies, midday.]
  • vespertine: of the evening. [ < Latin vesper, evening.]
  • crepuscular: of twilight. [ < Latin crepusculum, twilight. 
  • nocturnal: of the night. [. nocturnalis, of the night.]

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