ships' watches

The shipboard day is divided into 6 watches, each 4 hours long. The day begins at noon. The traditional names of the watches are:

afternoon watch Noon to 4 pm
evening watch (but see below) 4 pm to 8 pm
first watch 8 pm to midnight
midwatch or middle watch Midnight to 4 am
morning watch 4 am to 8 am
forenoon watch 8 am to noon

The evening watch was formerly divided into the first dog watch, from 4 pm to 6 pm, and the second dog watch, from 6 pm to 8 pm.  This made 7 watches instead of 6, so that those having the forenoon watch one day would have the afternoon watch the next, and so on.

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