Nocturnal vs diurnal

  • Nocturnal describes happenings that occur during the nighttime or plants and animals that are active during the nighttime. Nocturnal is an adjective, the adverb form is nocturnally. The word nocturnal comes from the Latin word nocturnus, which means belonging to the night.


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    Diurnal describes happenings that occur during the daytime or plants and animals that are active during the daytime. Diurnal is an adjective, the adverb form is diurnally. The word diurnal comes from the Latin word diurnalis, which means daily. Nocturnal and diurnal are direct opposites.



    It licensed me, after all, to explore the nocturnal city’s uses and abuses, from the middle ages on, not only in the corridors and stacks of libraries but in the alleys, lanes and streets themselves. (The Guardian)

    Still, electric lighting was such a perfect complement to the beauty, urbanity and wide streets of Paris that poet Marianne Moore once referred to France as “the chrysalis of the nocturnal butterfly.” (The Hartford Courant)

    WILDLIFE enthusiasts can catch a glimpse of one of Britain’s most elusive nocturnal animals – all from the comfort of their own armchair. (The Westmorland Gazette)

    Red-shouldered hawks are considered the diurnal counterpart to the nocturnal barred owl, hunting the same territory by day the barred owl hunts after dark. (The Corpus Christi Caller Times)

    Over 60 percent of all known species are nocturnal and those that are diurnal need naturally dark environments to recover from daily activity. (The Arizona Daily Sun)

    But this rather sweet diurnal ritual has an odd twist: the Elf is, in fact, a “scout elf”, sent from the North Pole. (The New Statesman Magazine)

    High pressure over the lower Great Lakes will maintain an east wind, which will tend to strengthen diurnally as onshore flow develops. (The Chicago Tribune)


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