Noon (also mid-day or noon time) is usually defined as 12 o'clock in the daytime. The word noon is also used informally to mean midday regarding the location of the sun not the middle of a persons day. Although this is a time around the middle of the day when people in many countries take a lunch break. Solar noon is 12 o'clock apparent solar time, or around 12 - 1pm Local time depending on daylight savings, the moment when the sun crosses the meridian and is about at its highest elevation in the sky. The clock time of solar noon depends on the longitude and date.[1]

The opposite of noon is midnight.

In the northern hemisphere, "noon" had an ancient geographic association with "south" (as did midnight with "north"). Remnants of the "noon" association are preserved in the words for "noon" in French ("midi") and Italian ("mezzogiorno"), both of which also refer to the southern parts of the respective countries. Modern Polish and Ukrainian go a step farther, with the words for noon ("południe", "полудень" -- literally "half-day") also meaning "south" and the words for "midnight" ("północ", "північ" -- literally "half-night") also meaning "north".



The word "noon" is derived from Latin nona hora, the ninth hour of the day, and is related to the liturgical term none. The Roman and Western European medieval monastic day began at 6:00 am (0600) by modern timekeeping, so the ninth hour started at what is now 3:00 pm (1500). In English, the meaning of the word shifted to midday and the time gradually moved back to 12:00. The change began in the twelfth century and was fixed by the fourteenth century.[2]

Solar noon

Solar noon is the moment when the Sun transits the celestial meridian-- roughly the time when it highest above the horizon on that day. This is also the origin of the terms ante meridiem and post meridiem as noted below. The Sun is directly overhead at solar noon at the equator on the equinoxes; at Tropic of Cancer (latitude 23° 26′ 22″ N) on the June solstice; and at Tropic of Capricorn (23° 26′ 22″ S) on the December solstice.

Muslims called solar noon as Zawwal (زوال) and is the time by which they can start offering their Dhuhr prayers.

Cultural meanings

In traditional magical thinking, both noon and its opposite, midnight, form an axis linking the mundane world with otherworlds by being apogee of light and darkness, respectively. Thus, noon is associated with heaven, order and life.[3]

Touching the sacrum

Central points of day and night were seen as moments when sacrum manifests itself and epiphanies were most likely. Thus, a noon prayer, healing practice and ritual magic were thought to be most effective - if their intentions were related to themes associated with day, of course. Also, numerous plants, animals, substances and other items harvested at noon were believed to have special, magical qualities and powers helpful in ritual practices.[3]

Sun resting

As it seems, the Sun stops its voyage at noon, where it was thought[by whom?] to rest for a while. Some[who?] believe this stillness sacred, as Otherworlds themselves are still and static. It was thought[by whom?] that at noon, Otherworld pristine conditions were present, bringing the state of primordial chaos to the world.

This resulted in the taboo of working at noon, as work is associated with culture and civilization and therefore anathema to nature and chaos. So, the act of working at noon is viewed[by whom?] as human will contradicting the natural (or God-given) order. As a result, in folklore there is widespread belief that working at noon is vainly and even harmful.[3]

Demons of noon

Persons breaking the taboo of working at noon were subject to chastisement by demons of noon. They are present in many mythologies, from Islamic and Jewish, where they were represented by dust devils, to Slavic mythology, where all sorts of poludnicas, wilas, and topielecs haunted the offending folk at noon. They universally caused hyperthermia resulting in aches, maddness or drowning.[3]


With 12-hour time notation, most authorities[who?] recommend avoiding confusion by using "noon," "12 noon," or "12:00 noon."

Digital clocks and computers commonly display 12 p.m. for noon. While that phrase may be used practically, it helps to understand that any particular time is actually an instant. The "p.m." shown on clock displays refers to the 12-hour period following the instant of noon, not to the instant itself.

While computers and digital clocks display "12:00 a.m." and "12:00 p.m." these notations provide no clear and unambiguous way to distinguish between midnight and noon. It is actually improper to use "a.m." and "p.m." when referring to 12:00. The abbreviation a.m. stands for ante meridiem (or before the meridian) and p.m. stands for post meridiem (or after the meridian), with the meridian being 12:00 noon. For this reason, neither abbreviation is correct for noon or midnight.[4] The length of the error is determined by the smallest unit of time: 12:00:01 p.m. would be correctly notated, as would even 12:00:00.00001 pm.

The most common ways to represent these times are, (a) to use a 24-hour clock (00:00 and 12:00, 24:00), (b) to use "12 noon" or "12 midnight," although unless the person is referring to a general time and not a specific day, "12 midnight" is still ambiguous, (c) to specify midnight as between two successive days or dates (Midnight Saturday/Sunday or Midnight December 14/15), and (d) to use "12:01 a.m." or "11:59 p.m." This final usage is common in the travel industry, especially train and plane schedules, to avoid confusion as to passengers' schedules.

The 30th edition of the U.S. Government Style Manual (2008) sections 9.54 and 12.9b recommends the use of "12 a.m." for midnight and "12 p.m." for noon.[5][6][nb 1]

See also


  1. ^ The 29th edition of the U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual (2000) section 12.9 recommended the opposite the use of "12 p.m." for midnight and "12 a.m." (formerly "12 m.") for noon.


External links

Media related to Noon at Wikimedia Commons

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Noon — (langue) Article connexe : Nones (peuple). Noon Parlée au Sénégal Région Afrique de l Ouest Typologie SVO [1] …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Noon — (n[=oo]n), n. [AS. n[=o]n, orig., the ninth hour, fr. L. nona (sc. hora) the ninth hour, then applied to the church services (called nones) at that hour, the time of which was afterwards changed to noon. See {Nine}, and cf. {Nones}, {Nunchion}.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • noon — [nu:n] n [U] [: Old English; Origin: non ninth hour from sunrise , from Latin nonus ninth ] 12 o clock in the daytime = ↑midday at/before/by noon ▪ We left home at noon. ▪ He rarely gets up before noon. ▪ We met at 12 noon . →mo …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Noon — ist der Name folgender Personen: David Noon (* 1946), US amerikanischer Komponist und Musikpädagoge Jeff Noon (* 1957), englischer Schriftsteller Malik Feroz Khan Noon (1893–1970), pakistanischer Politiker Siehe auch: Noon (Sprache), eine Sprache …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Noon — Noon, v. i. To take rest and refreshment at noon. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • noon — [ nun ] noun uncount ** twelve o clock in the middle of the day: They both slept until noon. We should be there by noon. => MORNING1 …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • noon — [n] the middle of a day apex, high noon, meridian, midday, noonday, noontide, noontime, twelve noon, twelve o’clock; concepts 801,802,806 Ant. midnight …   New thesaurus

  • noon — [no͞on] n. [ME < OE non, orig., the ninth hour (by the Roman method, reckoning from sunrise: i.e., 3 p.m.) < L nona (hora), ninth (hour) < novem, NINE] 1. twelve o clock in the daytime; midday 2. the highest point or culmination 3. Rare… …   English World dictionary

  • Noon — (n[=o]n), a. No. See the Note under No. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Noon — Noon, a. Belonging to midday; occurring at midday; meridional. Young. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Noon — (Nun, d.h. Grenzspitze), Cap an der flachen Westküste Afrikas; wurde 1432 von den Portugiesen entdeckt u. 1433 von Gilianez umsegelt u. heißt seitdem meist Cap Bojador, d.h. das umsegelte …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

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