High noon vs. low noon (???)

I work for a property management company. Someone called to make an appointment for a showing, and our leasing agent said she could be there at 12:00 noon.

Caller: Is that high noon or low noon?

Leasing Agent: What? High noon or low noon? I meant 12:00 - noon.

C: Well, is that high noon or low noon?

LA: The middle of the day. 12:00 PM - just noon.

C: OK.

We’ve been confused ever since. Anybody else ever hear of “low noon”?

It’s a redundancy to emphasise the sun being overhead which is already implied by the word noon. Just one step removed from the PIN number you use in the ATM machine.

Who would actually ask that? Who doesn’t understand what 12:00 noon means?

Well, there’s the usual bit of confusion when people try to refer to noon as either 12 a.m. or 12 p.m., when it can’t be either; actually referring to it as noon ought to make it simpler…

Before use of watches and clocks was common, noon could have been mid-day…a range of 1-3 hrs. High noon narrows it down.

Methinks you’ve been had by one of those people who also answers a cashier’s inquiry of “Did you find everything?” with “I couldn’t find any of those big bags of money.”

People are often confused by 12 AM/PM but I am confused by your statment that it “can’t be either.” Noon by clock is specifically 12PM. Midnight is 12AM. If you meant to say it “can be either” this would also be incorrect.

Maybe he ment “can’t be neither”, which would technically be correct?

My answer to that is, “No. I couldn’t find any childhood innocence or youthful idealism”

Actually, I believe you are wrong. Noon and midnight are neither AM nor PM.

Yup, here’s a cite to back that up.


I realize that 12:00 is nether before or after the meridian but it has always been my understanding that the 12PM convention is used for noon.

I’m going to take a WAG, but I’m thinking that the caller was meaning that as something of a joke. I’ve never heard of a ‘low noon’ per se, though you could assume there was one since there’s a ‘high noon’. It sounds like the caller was trying to be funny, but then they were taken seriously and so they kept asking.

Appeal to authority doesn’t work for usage. In common usage 12 p.m. is noon and 12 a.m. is midnight. It’s ridiculous to keep saying that this is wrong.

I concur. This sounds exactly like something my dad would say. When drunk.

They probably expected the employee to say something like “High noon, sir. I’ll bring my revolver.”

Maybe the caller was trying to figure out whether to round up some deputies to help capture Frank Miller and his gang.

Yes, noon is 12:00 PM. The minute after noon is 12:01 PM, no question about *ante * or *post meridiem * there, so why wouldn’t the minute before 12:01 PM be 12:00 PM?

“High noon” is a literary term, inspired by the sun being at its highest then, not a scientific term. Relax.

Another vote for “the customer was being a jackass.”

I encountered one of these when riding along with a musician friend to a gig. We had some trouble finding the right building, and when we thought we had the right one, I hopped out of the car to go see. The place was locked up, so I knocked and this guy came to the door. I said, “Hi, I’m here with Friend who’s playing here tonight. Are we at the right place?” He says something like, “Well, are any of us in the right place?” I gave a small chuckle and said something like, “yeah, well, is this where we should be?” “Who really knows where they SHOULD be?”

I wanted to strangle the guy, but I had to be nice because I was “representing” my friend. Look, buddy, we just want to know if we can park the car and unload our stuff. Time’s a-wasting. After a few more rounds of this nonsense I finally ascertained that yes, this was the place.

I run into this type of jerk far too often. Yes, hardy har har, you made your lame joke. Now can we conduct our business?

Or lie a coward, a craven coward, or lie a coward in his grave?

I did, in fact, mean that “p.m.” means post-meridian, “a.m.” means “ante-meridian”, and noon IS the meridian, so it can’t be either.

I have heard very heartfelt explanations for it being both, however (the above example of “12:01 is pm, so 12:00 is, too…” being countered by "the clock goes from 1:00 to 12:59; 1 in the morning is obviously a.m., so 12:59 (eleven hours and 59 minutes later) is, too; noon, being within that time span, is obviously a.m.).

I just use “12 noon.” Or noon.

And don’t even get me started on “next Saturday…”

Per common usage, you’re right. However, “noon” does not refer to the minute before 12:01, but to that infinitesimal moment between morning and afternoon. It is neither ante or post meridiem.