Meia vs Meio Help

I was hoping someone could help me with these two words. I’ve read explanations on the internet, but I’m still confused. The phrase that is bugging me is:

‘A meio da noite’

In this phrase, “meio” is the only masculine word. I’ve been assured this is the correct form for the phrase. Why?? If the definite article is “a” then why do we no use the feminine form “meia?’ Or….if the word “meio” is always masculine, why do we not use the article ‘o’ in the beginning?

Thanks for any help guys!!

“A Meia-noite” is midnight Sharif.
But “à meio da noite” is correct for "at mid-night.
THus “no meio da noite à meia-noite = in the middle of the night at midnight”
I just treat it as one of the quirks which the Portuguese slip in to trip us up. No doubt Joseph will explain the grammatical reason.


Hi Mac!

Thanks for the quick reply! Yes. This all makes sense to me. :slight_smile:

The reason I was confused, is because my learning app has the following phrase translation:

“the middle of the night” = “a meio da noite”

Which confuses me, because “a” is feminine, but “meio” is masculine. (as per my understanding. Maybe it can be both depending on what it is modifying. In this case, noite, noite.). It should be noted that I am trying to say “The middle of the night” and not “at mid-night.”

You used the phrase “no meio da noite” above which uses the masculine “no.” So, this makes me believe my studying app (Drops) is wrong. So I guess my first question is to confirm that the correct way to say “the middle of the night” (NOT “at midnight”) is:

“A meio da noite”

Or…is the correct way to write it “O Meio da noite.” ??

If “O Meio da Noite” is correct, then I completely understand, since Meio is a masculine word. If “A Meio da noite” is correct, I’d love to know why we use a feminine article in this instance.

Muito Obrigado!!

Could it be that your app was missing the accent. “à” = “at” rather than “a” = “the”
So “no meio da noite”= “in the middle of the night”
At midnight is “à meio-noite”

Well. Here’s the screenshot.

So what is the correct way to say “the middle of the night” as in

“The middle of the night” is quiet.

Is it “o meio da noite” ?

(Not midnight, not at midnight, etc)

I would say “o meio da noite está sossegado” and the translate function in PP bears me out. I just hope that I am correct.

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Thanks for all your help with this, Mac!!

@sharif32 A meio da noite (no accent on the A) does mean “In the middle of the night” :slight_smile: The A is not a definite article here, but a preposition, which is why “a meio de” is acceptable as an idiom and doesn’t contradict any rules of gender agreement.

So, we can say both “A meio da noite” and “No meio da noite” with identical meaning (but in the second case, we do have a definite article there, since no = em + o). Both expressions sound natural.

Also, about when to use meio or meia, here’s an explanation: Meia ou metade ? When to use - #2 by Joseph

Thank you so much for this info, @Joseph ! It is starting to become a bit clearer for me.

I have one more question. Would you ever say “O meio da noite” without the preposition? For instance, if you wanted to say “The middle of the night is quiet.” Or, would you always include the preposition “a” before a statement like this?

Muito Obrigado!

You’re welcome, @sharif32. If you’re just saying “The middle of the night” and not “In the middle of the night”, then of course, you shouldn’t use a preposition, just the definite article :slight_smile: