Sunnight
Posted: 09 April 2013 07:20 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Just happened on this obsolete term in OED (most recent cite is 1425). It’s defined as the night before Sunday, ie Saturday night. It had some companions too:

Tuesnight, Wednesnight, Frinight and Saturnight, all on the same principle. Notice the gap and say hi to Thurseven, the odd one out for some reason, but then as we all know here, languages could never abide strait-jackets.

I like them, although there’s certainly room for confusion if they were ever revived. But then our ancestors managed and were they any smarter than us?

BTW just noticed that there’s no Monnight. Go figure.

[ Edited: 09 April 2013 07:25 AM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 09 April 2013 10:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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That’s a big sleeve you’ve got aldi --- you’ve always got interesting things to pull out of it. I never before heard, or saw, any of those words. At first I thought your title was a misprint for “sennight”, another word I think is no longer much (if at all) heard or seen. By the way: I’ve more than once used the word “fortnight” in North America, and been asked what it means. In the UK, I think it’s still in everyday use.

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Posted: 09 April 2013 11:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Yes, fortnight is still common in the UK. Very useful term, I don’t know how Americans manage without it! Have you heard it used in Canada, Dave?

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Posted: 09 April 2013 03:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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aldiboronti - 09 April 2013 11:08 AM

I don’t know how Americans manage without it!

We say “two weeks”

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Posted: 09 April 2013 04:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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An ingenious fix but it’ll never catch on.

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Posted: 09 April 2013 04:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Faldage - 09 April 2013 03:57 PM

aldiboronti - 09 April 2013 11:08 AM
I don’t know how Americans manage without it!

We say “two weeks”

Or:

in “a couple weeks”

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Posted: 09 April 2013 04:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Thurseven a thread on fortnight back on the old forum.. I said “fortnight” to a Canadian friend of mine and he had no idea what it meant.  It is a perfectly common term in Australia.

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Posted: 09 April 2013 05:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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No, I’ve never heard “fortnight” used up here. Of course the crowd I run with (English and Medieval Studies profs and grad students) all know what it means, but I’ve never heard it used. And, IIRC, it came up in one of our readings and some of the undergrads had no clue what it meant.

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Posted: 10 April 2013 01:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Finally the penny drops. In the words quoted in aldi’s OP, “night” is synonymous with “eve” (as in aldi’s “Thurseven"), since in those days a day began and ended at sundown, as set out in the Book of Genesis ("and it was evening, and it was morning, the first day"), and as the day still begins and ends, in Jewish ritual, at sundown.  So what today we would call “Saturday Night” would in those days have been “Sunday Night”, or Sunday Eve,.giving way to “Sunday Morning” *.  And “Twelfth Night” would have been the night of January 5th, not of January 6th. Does anybody know when this irrational switch took place? I say “irrational” because according to the nomenclature in use today, “Saturday Night” ends at midnight, the rest of that night from midnight onwards being, regardless of what we call it, calendar Sunday.  When did days start being counted from midnight in the Western world?

* the old usage still persists in Christian calendar terms such as “Christmas Eve”, “Hallowe’en” (the night before All Saints’ Day, November 1), Walpurgisnacht, etc.

forgive me. aldi (and the rest of you), for taking so long to get the point.

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Posted: 11 April 2013 03:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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BTW just noticed that there’s no Monnight. Go figure.

These terms are all quite old, starting in Old English and, for the most part, disappearing by the fifteenth century. The lack of a monnight may simply be an artifact of the surviving corpus. There’s not all that many Old English manuscripts that survive, and while we’ve got a pretty good record of the language, it is incomplete.

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