nocturnal (adj.) late 15c., from O.Fr. nocturnal "nightly, nocturnal," or directly from L.L. nocturnalis, from L. nocturnus "belonging to the night," from nox (gen. noctis) "night," cognate with O.E. neaht (see NIGHT (Cf. night)) + -urnus, suffix forming adjectives of time. Nocturnal emission "involuntary ejaculation during sleep" first recorded 1813.

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