KudoZ home » English » Idioms / Maxims / Sayings

in the middle of the night

English translation: In the wee hours || late

Advertisement

Login or register (free and only takes a few minutes) to participate in this question.

You will also have access to many other tools and opportunities designed for those who have language-related jobs
(or are passionate about them). Participation is free and the site has a strict confidentiality policy.
GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:in the middle of the night
English translation:In the wee hours || late
Entered by: María Teresa Taylor Oliver
Options:
- Contribute to this entry
- Include in personal glossary

21:55 Jun 15, 2005
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Idioms / Maxims / Sayings
English term or phrase: in the middle of the night
What exactly does "middle of the night" mean? Does it always refer to midnight/12 o'clock am, exclusively, or is the meaning more ample and vague?

I've always thought it could mean any time between 8 or 9pm up until 3 or 4 am or something, as when it is dark. By the way, here in my country (Panama), it is already dark by 8pm, always, we're not blessed with long summer days like in other countries :)

I also thought it meant the time when someone has already retired, not necessarily to sleep, but a time when he or she is not inclined to receive phone calls or visits or to be bothered. So, of course, that would depend on each person...

Thanks!
María Teresa Taylor Oliver
Panama
Local time: 02:22
In the wee hours
Explanation:
I'd say "in the middle of the night" refers to a time in the night when most people are sound asleep. It could be between midnight and 5 in the morning.
Selected response from:

Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 02:22
Grading comment
Thanks so much, everyone's input is greatly appreciated, and I'm sorry for the delay in grading!! Derek, thanks, it's funny, my native language is Spanish, not English, and the friend I was talking to, his native language is Dutch, so English is the language we use to communicate, and I sometimes come out with these expressions that sound right when I say them, but then, when I think about it, or when he asks me, because they sound weird, I don't know where they came from!!! :D I probably watch too much (American) TV :P
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

Advertisement


Summary of answers provided
3 +16In the wee hours
Kim Metzger
3 +11more vague to me
jccantrell
3that late / so late
Derek Gill Franßen
3during night
Balasubramaniam L.


Discussion entries: 4





  

Answers


0 min   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +11
more vague to me


Explanation:
To me, it means after normal folks have gone to bed. It might be 12, but it could also be 3 or 4 AM.

So, I vote for more vague.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 min (2005-06-15 21:57:43 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

and your picture looks just like Rosie O\'Donnel

jccantrell
United States
Local time: 00:22
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Can Altinbay: It is more vague. I'd say it's some late hour and likely varies with the person saying it and the circumstances under which it's said.
2 mins

agree  Mikhail Kropotov: It's in the middle of one's night, I'd say :)
3 mins

agree  Pike: Also with Can.
5 mins

agree  Vicky Papaprodromou
5 mins

agree  Charlie Bavington: yes, it's vague and wide-ranging, the bedtime reference is not without worth :-)
7 mins

agree  rangepost
35 mins

agree  KNielsen: Yes, vague. Though "the middle of the night" sounds rather later than midnight to me--like from 2 or 3 onward. Basically the time when everything is quiet and all normal people are sound asleep :-)
2 hrs

agree  Melanie Nassar : I'd say normally not 10:30, unless you are a baker and go to bed at 8. But definitely vague.
9 hrs

agree  Derek Gill Franßen: I'm with Armaat (and you) on this one. :-)
10 hrs

agree  Louise Gough
15 hrs

agree  Andrey Belousov
119 days
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

3 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +16
In the wee hours


Explanation:
I'd say "in the middle of the night" refers to a time in the night when most people are sound asleep. It could be between midnight and 5 in the morning.


Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 02:22
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 55
Grading comment
Thanks so much, everyone's input is greatly appreciated, and I'm sorry for the delay in grading!! Derek, thanks, it's funny, my native language is Spanish, not English, and the friend I was talking to, his native language is Dutch, so English is the language we use to communicate, and I sometimes come out with these expressions that sound right when I say them, but then, when I think about it, or when he asks me, because they sound weird, I don't know where they came from!!! :D I probably watch too much (American) TV :P

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Mikhail Kropotov
0 min

agree  jrb: yes, also "in the small hours" - "wee" is a bit Scottish (to me at least)
1 min
  -> But we Americans have adopted your lovely Scottish term in this particular phrase.

agree  Pike
3 mins

agree  Vicky Papaprodromou
3 mins

agree  rangepost
33 mins

agree  marybro
1 hr

agree  Anna Maria Augustine at proZ.com: when I'm still up and working :(
1 hr

agree  RHELLER: yes, not before midnight :-)
2 hrs

agree  KNielsen: Yes, definitely. And "in the wee hours" definitely fits.
2 hrs

agree  Alp Berker
4 hrs

agree  NancyLynn: oh yes - who's this calling in the middle of the night? conjures images of turning on lights, grabbing housecoats and eyeglasses, stumbling around half-asleep...I'm off to bed g'nite!
6 hrs

agree  EdithK
6 hrs

agree  Saiwai Translation Services
9 hrs

agree  Derek Gill Franßen: I agree with Rita - generally not before midnight. I also agree with you that "wee" is the term Americans would use - not "small" - in this particular phrase. :-)
10 hrs

agree  Louise Gough
15 hrs

agree  Johan Venter
1 day11 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
during night


Explanation:
Going strictly by the dictionary, it means during the night.

Here is how COD defines "in the middle of":

middle 1. at an equal distance from the extremities of a thing

-in the middle of (often followed by verbal noun) in the process of; during.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 4 hrs 5 mins (2005-06-16 02:01:15 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I don\'t think it has anything to do with people\'s habits of waking or sleeping.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 4 hrs 10 mins (2005-06-16 02:06:44 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

If you consider phrases like \"while I was still in the middle of the work something happened\", the words \"in the middle of\" means \"while my work was still not finished\".

By analogy, \"in the middle of the night\" would mean \"while the night was still not finished\" or \"while it was still night\".

It comes around to the same thing, \"during night\"!

Balasubramaniam L.
India
Local time: 12:52
Native speaker of: Native in HindiHindi
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

10 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
that late / so late


Explanation:
I know you didn't ask, but I was thinking about how I would've put what you were trying to express - I probably would've said something like "Anyone who calls (me) that late is asking for trouble." ;-)

Derek Gill Franßen
Germany
Local time: 09:22
Native speaker of: English
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




Return to KudoZ list


Changes made by editors
Jun 22, 2005 - Changes made by Kim Metzger:
FieldOther » Art/Literary


KudoZ™ translation help
The KudoZ network provides a framework for translators and others to assist each other with translations or explanations of terms and short phrases.



See also:



Term search
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search