Definition of twilight in US English:



  • 1The soft glowing light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon, caused by the refraction and scattering of the sun's rays from the atmosphere.

    • ‘The sun is melting on the horizon and twilight deepens.’
    • ‘The sun sank below the skyline and cool purple twilight settled around them.’
    • ‘He looked outside, the light already faded into twilight, the streetlights blazing their golden hue through the darkness.’
    • ‘The sun had barely made it over the horizon and twilight still ruled the sky.’
    • ‘It was still light out, just the first orange rays of twilight creeping over the horizon.’
    • ‘During this period, however, the brilliance of the moon and stars, and the reflected light of the sun from below the horizon confer twilight, not darkness, to the region.’
    • ‘Quietly, ever so quietly, I watched two worlds briefly collide before one exited into the sunlight and the other stayed behind in the dim twilight.’
    • ‘Further back, twilight began to fall and consume two-thirds of the horizon and her path back home.’
    • ‘The weather is still balmy and the light is like twilight, even though it's almost 3 in the morning.’
    • ‘I was slightly impressed - the area looked very beautiful in twilight.’
    • ‘In this soft twilight, Wilton could see a faint shimmer around Milon.’
    • ‘It's a soft spring twilight by the edge of Lake Superior at the far northern tip of Wisconsin.’
    • ‘But in the soft twilight, the memories linger on.’
    • ‘Looking north from the plateau, you will see in the endless twilight a forbidding light on the horizon.’
    • ‘He turns back to the woman opposite him, her face reflecting the approaching purple twilight.’
    • ‘Dawn, light, twilight, gleaming, stars, red glare, bombs bursting: these words are all about light.’
    • ‘Not out merely for a night ride, the scientists had their eyes trained on the western horizon, where twilight hung low in a range from deep blue to glowing red.’
    • ‘Charlie observed Jessica in the light of the remaining twilight.’
    • ‘At last the shadows began to grow lighter as my eyes adjusted to the dim twilight.’
    • ‘With a sigh he lay back on the bunk watching the lights dim to a pale imitation of twilight.’
    half-light, semi-darkness, dimness, gloom
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    1. 1.1 The period of the evening when twilight takes place, between daylight and darkness.
      ‘a pleasant walk in the woods at twilight’
      • ‘At twilight, when neon store signs and traffic lights begin to glow, wet asphalt becomes a luminous billboard of color.’
      • ‘Monet's final years, as everyone knows, were spent peering into his lily pond, twilight after twilight, year after year, as if the natural vaguenesses he found there brought him comfort as he went blind.’
      • ‘The flowers seem small and insignificant during the day but at twilight they glow in the fading light and look beautiful.’
      • ‘When twilight came and the light was too poor to read, Roza closed the book and merely listened to the conversation.’
      • ‘If there are a lot of windows in your scene, consider shooting at twilight when the illumination levels will be closer.’
      • ‘It was twilight, and the light was dark yellow and cast long shadows.’
      • ‘The photographs from Laor's series ‘Image of Light’ were taken during twilight or at night.’
      • ‘By late in the month Mercury becomes visible low above the western horizon at twilight, a preview of its showing in March, when the planet will make its best evening apparition of the year.’
      • ‘As twilight approached, he lit the lantern and returned home.’
      • ‘I went in the opposite direction, but even the pleasure of being in the woods alone at twilight did nothing to lighten my mood.’
      • ‘They come out from the trunks of trees at twilight to forage.’
      • ‘There is so much dust in the Martian atmosphere that twilight routinely lasts for two hours.’
      • ‘Scott and I walked along the beach last night at twilight, watching the dark clouds swelling over the ocean, and as the first rain fell, we ran for the cover of the nearest hotel.’
      • ‘On Saturday 14 May museums across Europe remained open late into the evening with a series of special events held around twilight.’
      • ‘He specialized in moonlit and winter scenes, usually including a sheet of water and sometimes also involving the light of a fire, and he also painted sunsets and views at dawn or twilight.’
      • ‘Hovering between day and night, light and dark, life and death, twilight is glorious in its very imprecision.’
      • ‘Remember, twilight is the most dangerous time, when the light is failing but your lights do not have much effect.’
      • ‘At twilight, the family lights candles, to shine a beacon to the souls as they return.’
      • ‘The only problem with using the FL-D filter to correct for fluorescent lighting in a cityscape at twilight is that there is also tungsten lighting in the city.’
      • ‘It was almost as if the barn was it's own little world where it was twilight all the time, and the only light was the frail beams given off by a few candles.’
      dusk, early evening, evening, close of day
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  • 2in singular A period or state of obscurity, ambiguity, or gradual decline.

    ‘he was in the twilight of his career’
    as modifier ‘a twilight world of secrecy’
    • ‘Sullivan suddenly finds himself adrift in a twilight world where his life, sanity and personal identity are all at risk.’
    • ‘Now that the Government is in the twilight of its third term, when will the Prime Minister deliver on this commitment?’
    • ‘His characters appear to inhabit a parallel universe, a twilight world, a way-station between past and present.’
    • ‘Consequently, Bjornebye was left with acute double vision and he spent the next four months in a frightening twilight world.’
    • ‘An elder statesman of American cinema who, remarkably enough, hasn't received a single Oscar nomination, Sutherland may be in the twilight of his years but he has lost none of his ebullient wit.’
    • ‘In the twilight of his years, he is perhaps keen to keep his slate clean for history.’
    • ‘Most seem to be in the twilight of their youth - around 40-and most have a very mannered way in which they act.’
    • ‘For, such is the desperation of workers who live in a twilight world ruthlessly controlled by shadowy ‘gangmasters’, they will do anything to avoid detection.’
    • ‘Since then he has given the club great service and, although in the twilight of his playing career, he is still playing good football to the present day.’
    • ‘With a team of future Hall-of-Famers in the twilight of their careers, this is Hasek's best - and perhaps last - chance to win a Cup.’
    • ‘In the twilight of his days, he instills the mystery of all days.’
    • ‘Hawke may be in the twilight of his playing career, but he does not intend to go gently into that good night, preferring to believe that he can inflict some damage this weekend on the very men he spends his office hours trying to help.’
    • ‘And in the twilight of their youth, this bleakest enlightening is, for a pair lovelorn and wretched, their single and final solace.’
    • ‘Now, finally, at the twilight of their lives, they had found each other.’
    • ‘In the twilight of their years they are spending their lives at Sainik Ashram in Kakkanad since they found that they are a burden to their own families.’
    • ‘In the twilight of the Second World War hundreds of Nazis fled to Argentina.’
    • ‘So even if the law is not changed, homeless people will still be there, existing in a twilight world of temporary accommodation, shifting from place to place, becoming more damaged.’
    • ‘In the twilight of his years he now has trouble both walking and seeing.’
    • ‘At least five A.L. outfielders that year had better numbers than this man in the twilight of his career.’
    • ‘Many people say you're in the twilight of your professional playing career.’
    decline, waning, downturn, ebb
    shadowy, dark, twilit, shady, dim, gloomy, obscure
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Late Middle English: from Old English twi- ‘two’ (used in an obscure sense in this compound) + light.