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Strictly speaking | Eveninger

The online Oxford English Dictionary has regular updates, and an entry added last month was for the word eveninger. It’s actually quite an old term, first cited in the US in 1932 as an item of women’s evening wear, but now found almost exclusively in Indian English, referring to a later edition of a newspaper. A quick internet search uncovers the existence of the morninger as well as the afternooner applied to newspapers in India. The latter word doesn’t have to refer to newspapers, and is less regionally marked. It’s widely used, for any kind of activity that occurs in the afternoon, and there are even beers called ‘afternooners’ (perhaps as a nod to the colonial tradition of the sundowner).

I discovered one Philadelphia newspaper using afternooner as a label for radio DJs who are on air in the afternoon. The aggregation of terms around different times of day makes one wonder whether there are cultural implications. In English-speaking countries, is the afternoon associated with more activities than other times of the day? Is this different in Mediterranean countries, where the afternoon can mean inactivity in the form of the siesta? Perhaps the afternooner should become the Australian siesta (preceded by a couple of cold afternooners, of course).

Written by Dr Adam Smith, convenor of the Editing and Electronic Publishing Program at Macquarie University.

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