‘Nite’ vs ‘Night’ vs ‘Knight’: What’s the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on May 11, 2023

Knowing the difference between 'nite' vs. 'night' vs. 'knight' can be confusing. These three words have similar sounds and spellings. Furthermore, 'nite' and 'night' are the same word with different spellings, while 'knight' has a different definition.

Do not worry, though. In this guide, I will share the meanings of each word, when to use them, and example sentences.

Need a quick answer? 

Here it is: 

  • 'Nite' is the British spelling of the English word 'night.'
  • 'Night' is a noun for the time during each 24-hour period when it is dark outside. 
  • 'Knight' is a noun for a man who served and pledged allegiance to a king or ruler. 

So, all three words sound the same, but 'knight' has a different meaning than 'nite' and 'night.' But do not worry. When you finish reading this guide, you will know exactly which word to use and when.

When to Use 'Nite' vs. 'Night' vs. 'Knight'

You just learned that 'nite' and 'night' are two spellings of the same word. However, there are some situations when using one instead of the other is more appropriate.

So, how do you know which to use and when? 

  • Use 'nite' when you are drafting an informal communication or when you are speaking to a British English-speaking audience.
  • Use 'nite' when using British English style and spellings, like lite, brite, honour, colour, mould, and flavour.

For example, I might say something like:

Nite nite. I hope you sleep well and have sweet dreams. 

Use 'night' when writing formal messages or papers that an American-English-speaking audience will read.

For example, you could say something like:

When night falls, the nocturnal animals emerge from their homes to hunt and bask in the moonlight. 

Now that you understand how to use the above spellings, let's look at 'knight.' You use 'knight' about a person.

Use 'knight' about a person, specifically an appointed sovereign servant.

For example, you could say:

After the king died, many people tried to overthrow the queen to gain control of the kingdom. However, the knights that so faithfully served her husband stepped in to protect the new ruler. 

How to Use 'Nite' vs. 'Night' vs. 'Knight'

We've learned that all three words are nouns, but 'nite' and 'night' are two variations of the same word that mean the part of the day when it is dark outside.

For example:

  • During the 'nite,' the moon and stars come out.

The second is the formal English spelling.

For example:

  • Do not stay up all 'night' when you have an exam in the morning.

We also learned that 'knight' is a completely different meaning; you use it to describe someone a ruler appoints to protect them.

For example:

  • The king's 'knights' pledged to defend him at any cost.

As you can see, you can use 'nite' and 'night' interchangeably, but using 'knight' to describe a time is incorrect.

For example:

  • At 'night,' the 'knights' fought off the enemies to protect the kingdom.
  • The 'knights' must defend the kingdom at 'nite.'

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of 'nite' is:

  • A simplified, informal, or UK spelling of night

Definitions of 'Night': What Does Night Mean?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines 'night' as a noun meaning:

  • The time from dusk til dawn when there is no sunlight

It can also mean:

  • A night that commemorates an event
  • A time when it is dark
  • A time of affliction or inactivity
  • A period that reflects the darkness of night
  • The Start of Darkness
  • A time devoid of morals
  • A period of oppression
  • The end of a period

Words and Phrases Containing 'Night'

  • Good night
  • Tonight
  • Nightfall
  • Nighttime
  • A good night's sleep
  • Fly-by-night
  • Dead of night
  • Middle of the night
  • Night hawk
  • Nightmare
  • Night light
  • Night terror
  • Bump in the night
  • Nightly
  • Nightly news
  • Night nurse
  • Night shift
  • Night sky
  • Silent night
  • Nightly special
  • Nightrider
  • Nightcrawler
  • Night vision
  • Opening night
  • Nightwatchman
  • Night watch
  • Night and day difference
  • Still of the night
  • Spend the night
  • One night stand
  • Overnight
  • After night
  • Every night

Important Note! Tonight is a commonly used variation of 'night.' However, tonite is a blasting explosive used during the early 20th century. 

For example, you could say:

 Tonight we are going to visit the site. However, there isn't much left after a tonite blast during the early 1900s and nearly a century of neglect. 

Definition of 'Knight': What Does It Mean?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines 'knight' as:

  • A mounted man serving a superior.

It can also mean:

  • A man devoted to a woman as her protector
  • A warrior recognized for their honor by royalty
  • The member of a specific social class
  • A chess piece
  • To make someone a knight
  • A member of a religious order
  • Someone who protects others
  • A person willing to give their life for their people, land, leader, or religion

Words and Phrases Containing 'Knight'

  • Knight in shining armor
  • White knight
  • Black knight
  • Unknightly
  • Knighted
  • Knight service
  • Knightlier
  • Knightliest
  • Templar Knights
  • Knights of the Templar
  • Knights of Columbus
  • Knights Hospitaller
  • Teutonic Knights
  • Knights of the Holy Sepulcher

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Nite' vs. 'Night' vs. 'Knight'

Are you wondering how to pronounce these three words?

So, here is a quick guide.

'Nite,' 'night,' and 'knight' are all pronounced with the phonetic spelling:


How to Use 'Nite' vs. 'Night' vs. 'Knight' in a Sentence

You probably have a pretty good understanding of what these words mean. So, let's look at some examples of how to use them in a sentence.


  • It is a beautiful nite. The weather is cool and crisp, and the sky is clear.
  • It was so nice talking with you. I hope you have a good nite.
  • Will you read me a story before I go to sleep at nite?
  • Nite nite, don't let the bedbugs bite.
  • You need to turn that bright lite off at nite. Otherwise, it is harder for you to fall asleep.


  • I love looking at the night sky, especially during the Perseids meteor shower.
  • Try not to make it a late night tonight. I want to get to bed early because I have a meeting in the morning.
  • Do you want to make a night of it? You can spend the night after the show if you want.
  • Do you wake up often at night? I find that I sleep more soundly if I do a bedtime routine.
  • I try to meditate every night before I fall asleep.
  • A news report about dozens of brightly colored lights flashing in the sky last night.


  • Did you know that Queen Elizabeth knighted Elton John, Bono, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Van Morrison, and more than a dozen other celebrities?
  • The Knights of the Round Table stories are almost entirely fictional or unproven, which disappoints many fans of the Arthurian Era.
  • Would you like to be a knight? You would have to pledge your life to defend your ruler.
  • The armor knights wore extremely heavy. However, during the medieval period, it was one of the best forms of protection while fighting or competing in a jousting match.
  • The duties of a knight depended on the period of his service. Some knights were sworn members of religious orders that protected sacred artifacts.
  • I knew a knight in shining armor would eventually sweep me off my feet.
  • Did you know that after a knight was admitted to knighthood, he would be given the title sir?

Final Advice on the Difference Between 'Nite' vs. 'Night' vs. 'Knight'

Regarding confusing words, 'nite' vs. 'night' vs. 'knight' are three that can cause real problems. However, you should be okay if you remember a few things.

So, here is a quick recap:

  • 'Nite' is the British English spelling of the American English word 'night.' 
  • You should only use 'nite' in informal messages or when addressing British English audiences. 
  • 'Night' is a noun that describes the time within every 24 hours when the moon and stars are out and it is dark. 
  • You can use 'nite' and 'night' interchangeably, but you should use the same style throughout your document. 
  • A 'knight' pledges allegiances to a sovereign and is typically perceived as noble and chivalrous. 

If you get stuck in the future, you can always come back to verify that you are using these words properly. You can also visit the confusing words section here to learn the difference between other common words.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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