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pernoctation definition


This page has 3 definitions of pernoctation in English. Pernoctation is a noun. Also define these 19 related words and terms: action, abide, night, location, instance, overnight, stay, walk, vigil, watch, religion, Christianity, religious, normal, sleeping, hour, prayer, ceremony, and perform.



PIE word

Learned borrowing from Late Latin pernoctātiō (act of spending of the night (doing something, particularly praying)) + English -ion (suffix forming nouns indicating an action or process, or the result of an action or process). Pernoctātiō is derived from Latin pernoctātus (having spent the night) + -iō (suffix forming abstract nouns from verbs);[1] pernoctātus is the perfect passive participle of pernoctō (to spend the night), from per- (prefix with the sense of completion or entirety forming verbs) + nox (night; darkness)[2] (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *nókʷts (night; evening (?)), possibly from *negʷ- (bare, naked) in the sense of becoming bare of sunlight).



pernoctation (countable and uncountable, plural pernoctations) (formal)

  1. (uncountable) The action of abiding through the night at a location; (countable) an instance of this; an overnight stay.
    • 1685, R. H. [pseudonym; Abraham Woodhead], “Part I”, in An Historical Narration of the Life and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ. [], Oxford, Oxfordshire: [] [s.n.], OCLC 1051579834, § 113, page 88:
      The next morning they [Mary and Joseph] return back with ſpeed toward Jeruſalem; and at night repairing to their former lodging, neither there it ſeems heard they any thing of him [Jesus] (which argues, for this time of his abſence his pernoctation in the Temple), and ſo they muſt paſs this ſecond night alſo in great deſolation.
    • 1880 November, Statutes Proposed to be Made by the University of Oxford Commissioners for Exeter College, Oxford, Oxford, Oxfordshire: E. Pickard Hall, [], and J. H. Stacy, [], OCLC 316454098, part III, section 15, page 11:
      For the purposes of this clause, residing in Oxford shall mean the occupation of a dwelling-house or lodging in Oxford with pernoctation, and residing in College shall mean the occupation of rooms in College, or of a house in immediate communication with the College, with pernoctation.
    • Abide definition
      To endure without yielding; to withstand; await defiantly; to encounter; to persevere. (1 of 12 abide definitions)
    • Night definition
      The period between sunset and sunrise, when a location faces far away from the sun, thus when the sky is dark. (1 of 9 night definitions)
    • Overnight definition
      During or throughout the night, especially during the evening or night just past. (1 of 2 overnight definitions)
  2. (uncountable) The action of walking about at night, especially as a vigil or watch; (countable) an instance of this.
    • 1958, W[illiam] C[onrad] Costin, The History of St. John’s College, Oxford, 1598–1890, Oxford, Oxfordshire: University Press, OCLC 843270913, page 21:
      In 1599 Sr Robert Leech and Sr John Meades were guilty of pernoctation and breaking windows. They had been sent to prison by the Proctor.
  3. (countable, religion, chiefly Christianity, obsolete) A religious watch kept during normal sleeping hours, during which prayers or other ceremonies are performed; a vigil.
    • 1772, John Glen King, “The Order of the After-vespers”, in The Rites and Ceremonies of the Greek Church, in Russia; [], London: [] W. Owen, []; J[ames] Dodsley, []; J[ohn] Rivington, []; and T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, [], OCLC 1028608337, footnote 6, page 82:
      [I]n general the veſpers begin a little before ſunſet; the matins at four o'clock in the morning, and the liturgy or communion about nine; and when the vigil, or pernoctation, is performed, that ſervice begins after ſunſet; and there is no ſervice, in the morning following, till the communion.

Usage notes

The sense of a religious watch may apply either to a holy vigil or to diabolical activities.

Related terms



  1. ^ pernoctation, n.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2020; “pernoctation, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.
  2. ^ pernoctate, v.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2020; “pernoctate, v.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.