• WordNet 3.6
    • n nocturne a pensive lyrical piece of music (especially for the piano)
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The kakapo is a nocturnal burrowing parrot of New Zealand that has a green body with brown and yellow markings. Its name is from Maori and means "night parrot."
    • n Nocturne (Mus) A night piece, or serenade. The name is now used for a certain graceful and expressive form of instrumental composition, as the nocturne for orchestra in Mendelsohn's “Midsummer-Night's Dream” music.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Mongooses were brought to Hawaii to kill rats. This plan failed because rats are nocturnal while the mongoose hunts during the day.
    • n nocturne In painting, a night-piece; a painting exhibiting some of the characteristic effects of night-light.
    • n nocturne In music, a composition, properly instrumental, which is intended to embody the dreamy sentiments appropriate to the evening or the night; a pensive and sentimental melody; a reverie; a serenade. The style of composition and the term are peculiar to the romantic school. Also notturno.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Nocturne nok′turn a painting showing a scene by night: a piece of music of a dreamy character suitable to evening or night thoughts: a serenade: a reverie.
    • ***


  • Gilbert K. Chesterton
    “All architecture is great architecture after sunset; perhaps architecture is really a nocturnal art, like the art of fireworks.”
  • Jean Baudrillard
    “Every woman is like a time-zone. She is a nocturnal fragment of your journey. She brings you unflaggingly closer to the next night.”
  • Federico Garcia Lorca
    Federico Garcia Lorca
    “With their souls of patent leather, they come down the road. Hunched and nocturnal, where they breathe they impose, silence of dark rubber, and fear of fine sand.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. See Nocturn
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.; cf. Nocturn.


In literature:

Under the pale nocturnal sky, the edifice showed like a colossal monster, symbolical of provocation and sovereign dominion.
"Paris From the "Three Cities"" by Emile Zola
But it was the Tiber which impassioned Pierre; such was its melancholy majesty during those nocturnal hours.
"The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete Lourdes, Rome and Paris" by Emile Zola
Nocturnal bears in search of pork are not uncommon.
"The Forest" by Stewart Edward White
Cats figure in Norwegian folk-lore, too, as witches and picturesque incumbents of ghost-haunted houses and nocturnal revels.
"Concerning Cats" by Helen M. Winslow
Do not they sometimes favour the world with these nocturnal shriekings?
"Vivian Grey" by Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli
He had become a peripatetic automaton self-dedicated to nocturnal perambulation.
"Tutt and Mr. Tutt" by Arthur Train
To Hilda, this nocturnal entry into Bursley had the romance of an entry into a town friendly but strange and recondite.
"Hilda Lessways" by Arnold Bennett
Domitian's nocturnal spectacles and entertainments (chapters 8, 9).
"Dio's Rome, Volume V., Books 61-76 (A.D. 54-211)" by Cassius Dio
It was a nocturnal rite, so arranged as to be completed before midnight.
"The History of Rome; Books Nine to Twenty-Six" by Titus Livius
As soon as she had finished the nocturne, a sad, low sweet strain, she came back to the parlor.
"Saxe Holm's Stories" by Helen Hunt Jackson

In poetry:

What means my name to you?…T'will die
As does the melancholy murmur
Of distant waves or, of a summer,
The forest's hushed nocturnal sigh.
"Lyric written in 1830" by Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin
THE Thames nocturne of blue and gold
Changed to a Harmony in grey:
A barge with ochre-coloured hay
Dropt from the wharf: and chill and cold
"Impression Du Matin" by Oscar Wilde
We were born of mothers of heaven and earth
and of powers with no end in view,
nocturnal wills and wills of light
with names that no one knew.
"Man's Multiplicity" by Karin Boye
She hailed from a very distant country,
Nocturnal child of ancient times;
She had no kin to greet her entry
Not even skies with a welcome shine.
"Snow Maiden" by Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Blok
Past porches and pavements and people
It plunged with its powerful light
Through streets in nocturnal confusion
Deep into the blackness of night.
"In Hospital" by Boris Pasternak
And saw the myriad stars, that blaze
And fill, with their resplendent rays,
The deep nocturnal vaults on high,
But never thought or questioned why.
"Creation Light" by James Madison Bell

In news:

Poets, Dixie Bohemia , and Nocturnes.
And Bollywood musicals—with their obligatory context-obliterating production numbers dropped like bursts of more nocturnal pleasures into three-hour films—are dreamier still.
Oregonians may not know it, but our state's forests are riddled with wide-eyed, nocturnal, gliding mammals.
Here's a once-in-a-lifetime evening for you: A Nocturnal Fruit Forage.
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals at HOB .
Get Insomnia at Nocturnal .
Nocturnal Knitters Tag Up New Jersey Town.
Over a period of some weeks, Paris has become gripped by a strange nocturnal phenomenon.
After a summer of playing stadiums, Potter and the Nocturnals cap off an incredible year on the club circuit.
Could this be a nocturnal pest.
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals performed at House of Blues on Oct 31.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.
Stoneflies are quite common around water but seldom noticed because most are nocturnal, small and dull colored.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2011.

In science:

The astrolabe, of course, but also the nocturnal, armillary spheres, cross staff, quadrant, dioptra, and (on p. 193) that funny-looking star-burst on a stick that old astronomers (we mean 15th century or something, not ourselves) are sometimes shown holding.
Astrophysics in 2006