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Evening vs. Afternoon: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on May 30, 2024
Evening is the period of time between sunset and bedtime; afternoon is the period post-noon until sunset.

Key Differences

Evening refers to the time of day that follows the afternoon and precedes the night. It typically begins at sunset and lasts until nighttime. On the other hand, afternoon is the period that follows noon and leads up to the evening, often denoting the time after 12 PM and before sunset.
While evening is often associated with the winding down of the day, the approach of nighttime, and a sense of calm or relaxation, afternoon might be linked to the continuation of daily activities post-lunch and can sometimes be the warmest part of the day.
Evening can bring about cooler temperatures as the sun sets, making it a preferred time for some outdoor activities in certain climates. In contrast, afternoon, especially early afternoon, may still be under the influence of the sun at its zenith, making it hotter.
Dining habits vary, with many cultures having their dinner in the evening, viewing it as a time for family gatherings. The afternoon, however, is often marked by a lighter snack or meal, sometimes called an afternoon tea in certain cultures.
Lastly, evening often holds a more formal or romantic connotation in many cultures, with events like evening parties or dinner dates. The afternoon, in contrast, feels more casual, resonating with day-to-day activities and chores.

Comparison Chart

Time of Day

Period between sunset and bedtime
Period post-noon until sunset

Typical Activities

Dinner, relaxation, evening walks
Work, post-lunch routines, afternoon tea


Generally cooler as the sun sets
Can be warmer, especially in the early part


Often more formal or romantic
Seen as more casual or routine

Common Phrases

"Good evening," "evening gown."
"Good afternoon," "afternoon nap."

Evening and Afternoon Definitions


A social gathering or event held during this time.
They hosted an evening of music and dance.


The later part of the day, especially from midday onward.
It was a hot summer afternoon.


The latter part of the day, typically from sunset until bedtime.
We went for a stroll in the evening.


The declining phase or later stages.
He is in the afternoon of his career.


The time between afternoon and night.
The sun set, signaling the start of the evening.


The time from noon or lunchtime to evening.
She will arrive this afternoon.


The present time, especially when considered as a transitional stage.
The technological wonders of the evening.


A period of leisurely activity or relaxation in the afternoon.
They spent the afternoon sunbathing.


The latter stage or part of something.
He is in the evening of his life.


The part of the day following morning.
I'll see you in the afternoon.


The period of decreasing daylight between afternoon and night.


The part of day from noon until dinnertime or sunset.


The period between sunset or the evening meal and bedtime
A quiet evening at home.


The latter part
In the afternoon of life.


When does the evening typically begin?

Evening typically begins at sunset.

Is 3 PM considered afternoon or evening?

3 PM is considered afternoon.

What comes first, afternoon or evening?

Afternoon comes first, followed by evening.

Is "mid-afternoon" closer to noon or evening?

Mid-afternoon is halfway between noon and evening.

Is 5 PM considered late afternoon or early evening?

5 PM can be considered late afternoon or early evening, depending on context.

What meal is typically associated with the evening?

Dinner is typically associated with the evening.

Are afternoon and evening both parts of the PM?

Yes, both afternoon and evening are in the PM.

Can evening be used metaphorically?

Yes, evening can refer to the latter stage of something.

Are evening events typically more formal?

Evening events can often be more formal or romantic.

Can "afternoon" be used to describe the latter part of an event or period?

Yes, afternoon can metaphorically refer to a later stage.

Is "late evening" closer to night?

Yes, late evening is closer to nighttime.

Can "afternoon" refer to a time of relaxation?

Yes, as in spending a leisurely afternoon.

When does afternoon technically begin?

Afternoon begins right after noon or 12 PM.

Can "Good evening" be used in the afternoon?

No, "Good evening" is specifically for the evening.

Is "afternoon nap" taken in the evening?

No, an "afternoon nap" is taken in the afternoon.

What is "evening wear"?

"Evening wear" refers to clothing suitable for formal events held in the evening.

Is there a specific time when afternoon ends and evening begins?

It's subjective and can be influenced by geographical, cultural, and personal factors.

Which is typically cooler, afternoon or evening?

Evening is typically cooler than the afternoon.

Is sunset the only determinant of evening's start?

While common, sunset isn't the only way to define evening's start; cultural practices also influence.

What's the root of the word "afternoon"?

"Afternoon" is derived from "after" and "noon," meaning the time following midday.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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