חֲצוֹת־הַלַּיְלָה • (khatsòt-haláyla) m (no plural forms)
- midnight, 12:00 a.m.
- (chiefly Jewish religious law) the exact time between sunset and sunrise, the time in which the sun is in its lowest point below the horizon
- Hebrew speakers sometimes treat this term as if were grammatically female, because it refers to שעה (=an hour), which is grammatically feminine.
- In most contexts today, this term refers to 12:00am on a 12-hour clock or 00:00 on a 24-hour clock. In some contexts, especially when referring to Jewish religious rituals, this term means literally the middle of the night, i.e. exactly 12 hours after the astronomical midday.