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Related to dawn: dusk
dawn of a new day
A new or fresh beginning, or a turning point that achieves as much. With their first democratically elected leader in office, many in the nation felt that it was the dawn of a new day.
handbags at dawn
A confrontation or disagreement that is highly aggressive, emotionally expressive, and/or highly dramatic, but which does not end or result in violence. Used originally and primarily in reference to football (soccer) players, who would be sent off if they engaged in violent actions, the phrase is a play on the clichéd "pistols at dawn," indicating a forthcoming pistol duel. Primarily heard in UK. It was handbags at dawn between the two players, who had been verbally taunting one another throughout the match.
A situation that looks like it is beginning to improve when, in reality, it is not. Barb thought her marriage was beginning to improve when her husband came home in a good mood, but it proved to be a false dawn when he handed her divorce papers. Everyone was happy when they heard that they were all getting a raise, but it turned out to be a false dawn when management cut all of their hours.
at the crack of dawn
Very early in the morning, when the sun rises (dawn). It's a long drive, so we'll have to leave at the crack of dawn if we want to get there on time.
dawn (up)on (one)
To occur to one. Once I pulled up to the bank, it dawned on me that I had forgotten my wallet. Did it just dawn on you that throwing the ball in the house might be a bad idea, or did you have that realization before breaking mom's vase?
See also: dawn
light dawns (on one)
To understand or realize something with sudden clarity or certainty. The light finally dawned when I remembered that my grandfather had been stationed in Japan many years ago. She'd been cheating on me for months, but it was only when he left his tie in the house that the light dawned on me.
the darkest hour is just before the dawn
The worst part of an experience or period usually happens just before things get better. When I was lost in depression, friends tried to remind me that the darkest hour is just before the dawn
at the crack of dawnand at the break of dawn
Fig. at the earliest light of the day. Jane was always awake at the crack of dawn. The birds start singing at the break of dawn.
darkest hour is just before the dawnand It's always darkest just before the dawn.
Prov. When things are extremely bad, it may signal that they are about to get much better. Jill: I feel like giving up. I don't have a job, my boyfriend left me, and they're raising the rent for my apartment. Jane: It's always darkest just before the dawn.
dawn (up)on someone
Fig. [for a fact] to become apparent to someone; [for something] to be suddenly realized by someone. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) Then it dawned upon me that I was actually going to have the job. On the way home, it dawned on me that I had never returned your call, so when I got home I called immediately.
from dawn to dusk
Fig. during the period of the day when there is light; from the rising of the sun to the setting of the sun. I have to work from dawn to dusk on the farm. The factory runs from dawn to dusk to produce hats and gloves.
See also: dawn
It's always darkest just before the dawn.
See The darkest hour is just before the dawn.
crack of dawn
Very early morning, daybreak. For example, I got up at the crack of dawn. The crack in this term alludes either to the suddenness of sunrise or to the small wedge of light appearing as the sun rises over the horizon. Originally the term was usually put as crack of day. [Late 1800s]
Also, dawn upon. Become evident or understood, as in It finally dawned on him that he was expected to call them, or Around noon it dawned upon me that I had never eaten breakfast. This expression transfers the beginning of daylight to the beginning of a thought process. Harriet Beecher Stowe had it in Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852): "The idea that they had either feelings or rights had never dawned upon her." [Mid-1800s]
light dawned, the
Understanding came at last, as in They couldn't figure out where they went wrong, but then the light dawned-they'd turned right instead of left . This expression transfers the beginning of dawn to human perception. [c. 1800]
See also: light
at the crack of dawn
If you do something at the crack of dawn, you do it very early in the morning. I'm not used to getting up at the crack of dawn. We set off at the crack of dawn.
a false dawnmainly BRITISH, JOURNALISM
COMMON If an event is a false dawn, it seems to show that something is improving or something successful is happening, but in fact it is not. The new age of enterprise which the Government hoped would revitalise Britain in the Eighties turned out to be a false dawn. Everything they have said is sensible but we have had a lot of false dawns with this company before.
If light dawns, you suddenly realize or understand something. I didn't realize they were a couple till I saw them together last night and the light suddenly dawned. Note: You can also say that light dawns on someone. `Oh!' she said, as if the light had finally dawned on her. `I'm on the wrong floor, huh?'
dawn onor dawn upon
To begin to be perceived or understood by someone; become apparent to someone: It dawned on me that I had forgotten to pick up some milk. A possible motive for the crime dawned upon the detective.