“Nighthawks: A painting (1942) by the US artist Edward Hopper (1882-1967), showing people at an all-night coffee stand. A nighthawk is the same as a ‘night owl,’ i.e. someone who likes to stay up all night. A nighthawk—also called a mosquito hawk or bulbat—is also the name for any of a group of American nightjars. Nighthawks has also been used as the title of two films, one (1978) about the night-time cruising of a gay British schoolteacher, and the other (1981) about American policemen pursuing a terrorist.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

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