When is midnight? Nomenclature question

Greg Black gjb at gbch.net
Sun Apr 23 07:48:23 UTC 2006

On 2006-04-23, Paul Eggert wrote:
> "Dave Cantor" <Dave at Cantor.mv.com> writes:
> > ... "midnight Tuesday".  Midnight _used_to_be_ a synonym for 2400
> > hrs., the end of the day.
> Yes, that's the usual meaning in English even now, I think.
> > But we pretty much don't use 2400 hrs. any more, and "midnight" 
> > has become a synonym, in some contexts, for 0000 hrs., the start 
> > of the day.
> Hmm, which contexts are these?  Do you have some quotes?
> I ask because there is a lot of confusion around on this subject.
> For example, <http://www.physics.nist.gov/News/Releases/questions.html>
> says that railroads and airlines get around the 12:00 ambiguity by never
> scheduling departures for either noon or midnight, but I once had a
> printed airline ticket that said I left LAX at "1200N", meaning noon.

I recall when I was doing compulsory military service, they
always solved this by saying leave ended at 2359 on the day in
question.  Even for soldiers, this was unambiguous.


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