cre·​pus·​cu·​lar | \ kri-ˈpə-skyə-lər How to pronounce crepuscular (audio) \

Definition of crepuscular

1 : of, relating to, or resembling twilight : dim crepuscular light the crepuscular sky
2 : occurring or active during twilight crepuscular insects crepuscular activity crepuscular birds

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The early Romans had two words for the twilight. Crepusculum was favored by Roman writers for the half-light of evening, just after the sun sets; it is a diminutive formation based on their word for "dusky," which is creper. Diluculum was reserved for morning twilight, just before the sun rises—it is related to lucidus, meaning "bright." We didn't embrace either of these Latin nouns as substitutes for our Middle English twilight, but we did form the adjective crepuscular in the 17th century. At first, it only meant "dim" or "indistinct," often used in a figurative sense. In the 1820s, we added its special zoological sense, describing animals that are most active at twilight.

Examples of crepuscular in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For instance, ungulates, such as bison, and coyotes are generally crepuscular, or most active at dusk and dawn, whereas alligators are diurnal and nocturnal. Andrea Sachs, Washington Post, 22 June 2022 His color palettes, which can range from brilliant orange and blue to crepuscular pinks and purples, seem to evoke land, sky and light in its myriad reflective and refractive states. Los Angeles Times, 12 May 2022 Yuta Tsukinaga’s grainy, tactile 16mm lensing, meanwhile, often casts proceedings in a soft, crepuscular light that brings an appropriate sense of melancholy to proceedings without undue romanticism. Guy Lodge, Variety, 24 Feb. 2022 The presence of god rays (or crepuscular rays, to use a more technical and less religious term) in virtual reality is an artifact from the use of Fresnel lenses in most headsets. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, 8 Feb. 2022 Additionally, crepuscular rays are most often only seen around sunrise or sunset. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 26 Jan. 2022 Into the crepuscular realm of social media, for example. Will Self, Harper's Magazine, 23 Nov. 2021 Yet Sebald also published crepuscular poems and prose in the student newspaper. Judith Shulevitz, The Atlantic, 5 Oct. 2021 Under plans proposed for the Utah parks, tour groups can forget about flying over Bryce when the hoodoos are bathed in the crepuscular glow of dusk or dawn. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 3 Sep. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crepuscular.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of crepuscular

1668, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for crepuscular

borrowed from New Latin crepusculāris, from Latin crepusculum "twilight" + -āris -ar — more at crepuscule

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The first known use of crepuscular was in 1668

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crepuscular light

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Last Updated

4 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Crepuscular.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for crepuscular


cre·​pus·​cu·​lar | \ kri-ˈpəs-kyə-lər How to pronounce crepuscular (audio) \

Medical Definition of crepuscular

1 : of, relating to, or resembling twilight crepuscular depths of personality— William James
2 : active in the twilight crepuscular animals

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