May 29, 2016
- noon (noun)
- What does it mean?
- : the middle of the day : 12 o'clock in the daytime
- How do you use it?
- Around noon we decided to take a break from our hike and eat the sandwiches and fruit we'd brought.
- Are you a word wiz?
"Noon" traces back to the Latin "nona." "Nona," however, didn't refer to the twelve o'clock in the day, what we now know as "noon." What time do you think "nona" referred to?Under the ancient Roman reckoning of time, the hours were counted from sunrise to sunset, so that "nona" (short for "nona hora," meaning "ninth hour") meant about three o'clock in the afternoon. "Nona" was adopted into Old English as "non," which referred to the time and also to the text read during a church ceremony held at that time. Later, "non" or "none" (eventually "noon") was applied to a meal eaten before this text was read, perhaps originally an afternoon snack. The meaning shifted to the major midday meal, however, and then to midday itself, the sense that Modern English "noon" has retained.