Noon vs. Afternoon — What's the Difference?
By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on September 17, 2023
Noon refers to 12:00 PM or midday, marking the exact middle of the day. Afternoon is the period that follows noon, spanning from 12:01 PM until evening (typically around 6:00 PM).
Difference Between Noon and Afternoon
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Noon is a precise point in time, occurring exactly at 12:00 PM, marking the culmination of the morning. Conversely, afternoon is a duration of time, commencing right after noon and continuing until the evening begins.
While noon is universally recognized as midday, the start and end points of the afternoon might vary based on cultural or individual perceptions. Typically, afternoon stretches until 5 or 6 PM, but this can differ.
In many cultures, activities such as meals or breaks are centered around noon, like lunch. In contrast, the afternoon is often linked with the post-lunch slump, a time when people might feel less energetic or take a siesta in certain cultures.
Noon has significant importance in certain religions, marking the time for specific prayers or rituals. The afternoon, meanwhile, can be a period for work, leisure, or rest, contingent on individual schedules and societal norms.
Linguistically, noon is derived from the Latin 'nona hora,' denoting the 'ninth hour' of daylight. Afternoon, as the name suggests, simply refers to the period that follows the noon hour.
Precise moment in time
Duration of time
12:01 PM to approximately 5 or 6 PM
Latin 'nona hora'
English 'after' + 'noon'
Lunch, midday prayers
Work, siesta, leisure
Period in a Day
Culmination of morning
Follows morning and precedes evening
Compare with Definitions
A time for certain religious or ritualistic practices.
They paused to pray at noon.
A reference to the latter part of the day, often after lunch.
She preferred to exercise in the afternoon.
A term used to emphasize the exact middle of a period.
The project is at its noon, with half the tasks completed.
A time typically associated with decreased energy or a slump.
He felt drowsy in the early afternoon.
The culmination or peak moment of an event.
The celebrations reached their noon with fireworks.
Short for good afternoon
The highest or zenith point of something.
The sun was at its noon and casted minimal shadows.
Afternoon is the time of the day between noon and evening. It is the time when the sun is descending from its peak in the sky to somewhat before its terminus at the horizon in the west.
Twelve o'clock in the daytime; midday.
The time from noon or lunchtime to evening
I'll be back at three in the afternoon
I telephoned this afternoon
She worked on Tuesday afternoons
The middle of the day; specifically 12:00 PM.
We decided to meet for lunch at noon.
In the afternoon; every afternoon.
Noon (or midday) is 12 o'clock in the daytime. It is written as 12 noon, 12 p.m.
The part of day from noon until dinnertime or sunset.
The time or point in the sun's path at which the sun is on the local meridian. Also called noontide, noontime.
The latter part
In the afternoon of life.
The highest point; the zenith.
The part of the day from noon or lunchtime until sunset, evening, or suppertime or 6pm.
(figuratively) The later part of anything, often with implications of decline.
The time of day when the sun is in its zenith; twelve o'clock in the day, midday.
On Sundays, I love to have a lie-in until noon.
The race is due to start at noon sharp.
(informal) A party or social event held in the afternoon.
The corresponding time in the middle of the night; midnight.
In the afternoon.
(obsolete) The ninth hour of the day counted from sunrise; around three o'clock in the afternoon.
Ellipsis of good afternoon
(figurative) The highest point; culmination.
The part of the day which follows noon, between noon and evening.
To relax or sleep around midday
The part of the day between noon and evening;
He spent a quiet afternoon in the park
No. See the Note under No.
A conventional expression of greeting or farewell
Belonging to midday; occurring at midday; meridional.
The period of day that follows noon and precedes evening.
He scheduled the meeting for the afternoon.
The middle of the day; midday; the time when the sun is in the meridian; twelve o'clock in the daytime.
A casual greeting used during the said period.
Good afternoon! she greeted as she walked in.
Hence, the highest point; culmination.
In the very noon of that brilliant life which was destined to be so soon, and so fatally, overshadowed.
A segment of the day often linked with leisure or relaxation.
Weekends are perfect for afternoon picnics.
To take rest and refreshment at noon.
The middle of the day
Can Noon be considered part of the Afternoon?
No, noon is the exact point marking the end of morning and start of afternoon.
Why is Noon important in certain religions?
Noon, being a distinct time of day, often marks specific rituals or prayers in various faiths.
How did Noon get its name?
It's derived from the Latin 'nona hora', indicating the ninth hour of daylight.
Is Afternoon the same globally?
While afternoon follows noon everywhere, its exact duration might vary based on cultural norms.
Do any specific events happen globally at Noon?
In many cultures, noon is a typical time for lunch or midday breaks.
When does the Afternoon end?
Afternoon typically ends around 5 or 6 PM, leading into evening.
Why do some people feel sleepy in the Afternoon?
Biological rhythms can cause an energy drop post-noon, leading to afternoon drowsiness.
Is high noon the same as Noon?
Yes, "high noon" often refers to the exact time when the sun is at its zenith, which is 12:00 PM.
What's the term for the period right after early afternoon?
That's often referred to as "late afternoon."
What time exactly is Noon?
Noon is exactly at 12:00 PM.
Why is the time after lunch often called the afternoon slump?
It's a period where many people experience decreased energy or drowsiness.
Can afternoon be used as a greeting?
Yes, "Good afternoon" is a common greeting.
Is there a difference between midday and Noon?
While they are often used interchangeably, midday generally refers to the middle part of the day, and noon is specifically 12:00 PM.
How is Noon determined?
Noon is determined when the sun is at its highest point in the sky.
Are there any specific customs or traditions associated with the Afternoon?
Different cultures have varied traditions, such as taking siestas or afternoon tea during this period.
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Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.