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Re: Twilight

Posted by Smokey Stover on June 09, 2004

In Reply to: Twilight posted by Henry on June 08, 2004

: : : First of all, thanks for all of your comments. Here is the full text:

: : : ********
: : : It was still quite light out of doors, but inside with the curtains drawn and the smoldering fire sending out a dim, uncertain glow, the room was full of deep shadows.

: : : ********

: : : Thank you again for all of your help.

: : : With best regards,
: : : CHRA

: : CHRA, when you add a new post, add it at the end of all previous posts, for the convenience of those who follow in your steps. The context is what everyone hoped. When there's light outdoors, it means that there's illumination from the sky. This not unusual phenomenon draws comment when there is some contrast to make, as in your example. One also may comment that "it's light outdoors" at dawn or "still light out" at dusk. We don't use the words dusk and twilight often except in driving manuals ("Turn your lights on at dusk.") A famous poem by Longfellow, which I remember poorly, begins something like: "Between the day and the evening, When the twilight's beginning to lower, Comes a pause in the day's occupations That is known as the children's hour." SS

: Yes, the phrases are not linked. It was still quite light. It's evening and the daylight has not yet disappeared. Out of doors means out of the house, in the open air.

: Crepuscular means pertaining to twilight; glimmering; hence, imperfectly clear or luminous.

: Twilight is defined in three ways: Civil twilight occurs when the sun is six degrees below the horizon. At the end of civil twilight, you're legally required to turn on your automobile headlights. The next darker form of twilight is nautical twilight, with the sun 12 degrees below the horizon. During nautical twilight, you can see stars and planets, but it is still bright enough for the horizon to be seen. Astronomical twilight occurs when the sun is 18 degrees below the horizon. At the end of astronomical twilight, the sky has reached its maximum darkness. In polar latitudes, nights may pass where one or more of these may not occur.

: These all seem to refer to the end of the day.

Shame on my poor treatment of Longfellow. His poem begins: Between the dark and the daylight, When the night is beginning to lower, Comes a pause in the day's occupations That is known as the children's hour.
As for twilight, I'm amazed at the degree of technical precision educed by Henry. The OED points out that twilight, at least in its origin, refers equally to the beginning and to the end of the day. Dusk refers to the darkness of the sky as the sunlight fades, and presumably refers only to the end of the day. SS