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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce nocturnal (audio)

Dictionary definition of nocturnal

Active during the night, and sleeping or resting during the day.
"The bat is a nocturnal animal that hunts at night."

Detailed meaning of nocturnal

This behavior is common among animals such as bats, owls, and many species of insects and mammals. Nocturnal animals have adaptations that allow them to see and move in low light conditions, such as large eyes and sensitive pupils. Some animals, like owls, also have specialized feathers that allow them to fly silently, to capture their prey. On the other hand, diurnal animals are active during the day and sleep at night. The terms nocturnal and diurnal are used to describe the activity patterns of animals, and are determined by the animals' physiological and ecological needs. For example, nocturnal animals may avoid competition for resources or predation by being active during the night, while diurnal animals may take advantage of the available light to forage, hunt or communicate.

Example sentences containing nocturnal

1. Owls are known for their nocturnal habits, hunting for prey under the cover of darkness.
2. Bats are fascinating creatures that exhibit nocturnal behavior, soaring through the night sky in search of insects.
3. Some nocturnal animals, like the firefly, have the unique ability to emit their own light.
4. Nighttime is when many nocturnal plants, such as the moonflower, begin to bloom and release their fragrance.
5. The hooting of nocturnal creatures creates an eerie ambiance in the forest at night.
6. Nocturnal animals have adapted to low light conditions and often possess enhanced night vision.

History and etymology of nocturnal

The adjective 'nocturnal' has its origins in the Latin language. It is derived from the Latin word 'nocturnus,' which is a combination of 'nox,' meaning 'night,' and the suffix '-turnus,' denoting 'pertaining to' or 'occurring during.' The Latin word 'nox' itself finds its roots in the Proto-Indo-European base '*nekwt,' which also meant 'night.' Therefore, the etymology of 'nocturnal' reflects its fundamental association with activities or behaviors occurring during the night, as it conveys the notion of being active during the nighttime hours while resting or sleeping during the day.

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Further usage examples of nocturnal

1. The nocturnal nature of certain species of cats allows them to be more active during cooler hours.
2. Moths are attracted to artificial lights at night, a common behavior among many nocturnal insects.
3. Nocturnal reptiles like geckos are often found clinging to walls and ceilings in search of insects.
4. The stars in the nocturnal sky provide a breathtaking view of the universe.
5. Nocturnal predators, such as wolves and coyotes, use the cover of darkness to hunt their prey.
6. Some nocturnal birds, like the nightjar, camouflage themselves during the day to avoid detection.
7. Nocturnal creatures like raccoons scavenge for food at night, rummaging through trash cans and gardens.
8. The hushed silence of the nocturnal world is occasionally broken by the howling of distant wolves.
9. Nocturnal animals possess specialized adaptations, like keen hearing, to navigate their environment in darkness.
10. Nocturnal flowers often release their fragrance after sunset, attracting pollinators like moths and bats.
11. Exploring a nocturnal ecosystem reveals a hidden world teeming with activity under the moonlit sky.
12. The nocturnal behavior of certain fish species enables them to find shelter during daylight hours.
13. Nocturnal insects like fireflies create a mesmerizing display of bioluminescence in the darkness.
14. Nocturnal creatures have evolved unique strategies to avoid predation during the day, utilizing darkness as their ally.



night-active, diurnal, daytime-active, crepuscular


Biology and Nature, Middle School 5, Wildlife and Environment

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