An extract on #afternoon
Afternoon is the time occurring between noon and evening. The specific range of time this encompasses varies in one direction: noon is currently defined as a constant 12:00 pm, but when afternoon ends is dependent on when evening begins, for which there is no standard definition. However, before a period of transition from the twelfth to fourteenth centuries, noon instead referred to 3 pmpossible explanations include shifting times for prayers and midday meals, along which one concept of noon was definedand so afternoon would have referred to a narrower timeframe.
The word afternoon, which derives from after and noon, has been attested from about the year 1300; Middle English contained both afternoon and the synonym aftermete. The standard locative marking for the word was at afternoon in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries but has shifted to in the afternoon since then. In Southern U.S. and Midland American English, the word evening is sometimes used to encompass all times between noon and night. The Irish language contains four different words to mark time intervals from late afternoon to nightfall, this period being considered mystical. Metaphorically, the word afternoon refers to a relatively late period in the expanse of time or in one's life.
The term should not be confused with "after noon" (two separate words), which is a translation of the Latin post meridiem (p.m.), meaning a time between 12:00 midday and 12:00 midnight.
Afternoon is a time when the sun is descending from its daytime peak. During the afternoon, the sun moves from roughly the center of the sky to deep in the west. In late afternoon, sunlight is particularly bright and glaring, because the sun is at a low angle in the sky. The standard working time in most industrialized countries goes from the morning to the late afternoon or eveningarchetypally, 9 am to 5 pmso the latter part of this time takes place in the afternoon. Schools usually let out during the afternoon as well.
In diurnal animals, it is typical for blood levels of the hormone cortisolwhich is used to increase blood sugar and aid metabolism and is also produced in response to stressto be most stable in the afternoon after decreasing throughout the morning. However, cortisol levels are also the most reactive to environmental changes unrelated to sleep and daylight during the afternoon. As a result, this time of day is considered optimal for researchers studying stress and hormone levels. Plants generally have their highest photosynthetic levels of the day at noon and in the early afternoon, owing to the sun's high angle in the sky. The large proliferation of maize crops across Earth has caused tiny, harmless fluctuations in the normal pattern of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, since these crops photosynthesize large amounts of carbon dioxide during these times and this process sharply drops down during the late afternoon and evening.
In humans, body temperature is typically highest during the mid to late afternoon. However, human athletes being tested for physical vigor on exercise machines showed no statistically significant difference after lunch. Owners of factory farms are advised to use buildings with an eastwest (as opposed to northsouth) orientation to house their livestock, because an eastwest orientation generally means thicker walls on the east and west to accommodate the sun's acute angle and intense glare during late afternoon. When these animals are too hot, they are more likely to become belligerent and unproductive.