Italian Word of the Day: Mezzanotte (midnight)

At the stroke of midnight on December 31st, the new year will begin, bringing with it a whole new set of hopes, dreams, wishes, and challenges. The word for midnight in Italian is mezzanotte, which is the union of two words: mezzo (half or middle) and notte (night).

Italian word for midnight, mezzanotte

The reason mezzo has become mezza is because notte is a feminine noun. In the case of the word mezzogiorno (midday / noon), on the other hand, mezzo remains masculine because giorno is masculine.

Caspita, è già mezzanotte. Dovrei andare a dormire.

Oh my, it’s already midnight. I should go to bed.

lake in mountains at night in moon light

Be aware that the plural of mezzanotte can be either mezzanotti or mezzenotti. Don’t dwell too much on which to use though, as the plural form is rare! It takes the following definite and indefinite articles:

  • la mezzanotte
  • le mezzenotti
  • una mezzanotte
  • (delle) mezzenotti

Mezzanotte can also refer specifically to the sound of the bells that chime at midnight.

La mezzanotte è suonata senza che me ne sia accorto.

Midnight struck without my realising it.

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