Timothy's Blog

Timothy's blog on dulcimers, music, nature and life!

Noon and midnight

12 p.m.: when is that?

12 a.m.: when is that??

Throughout my life I’ve seen folks boldly designate those two times, and I have to study the context in each instance to figure out whether they’re talking about noon or midnight.  I guess those bold designators know what they mean, but I’m not sure why….

The reason --- and I’m not making this up --- is that ‘a.m.’ literally stands for ‘ante meridiem’, Latin for ‘before noon’; and ‘p.m.’ stands for ‘post meridiem’, Latin for ‘after noon’.

That must lead to the understanding that '12 a.m.’ is 12 hours into the time before noon, even though it is noon.  And '12 p.m.’ absolutely has to be 12 hours into the period after noon.  Okay, then that second one is midnight, right?

But very often people intend '12 p.m.’ to mean noon itself.

Stop it!!  Please think it through!

I believe --- for you thinking people who read my blog posts, that is --- that the solution should be to use the very words ‘noon’ and midnight’ for these, since that’s exactly what is meant.  Don’t call them 12 o’clock!

‘The concert will be concluded by midnight.’  (Or, if you must, '12 midnight’.)

‘The morning session will run from 10 a.m. till noon.’  (Or '12 noon’.)

How about it?  Don’t you think?

Play music in the moment!
The making of the album Sycamore Rapids


Larry Bamford on Tuesday, 23 January 2018 18:58

The only way I can keep track is if I set my alarm for 12 noon, i.e., the minute after 11:59 AM, you know, 12:00 AM, I keep getting rattled out of bed at midnight. >:-(

Thanks for the post, Tim. It's fun to rant. :D

The only way I can keep track is if I set my alarm for 12 noon, i.e., the minute after 11:59 AM, you know, 12:00 AM, I keep getting rattled out of bed at midnight. >:-( Thanks for the post, Tim. It's fun to rant. :D

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