What time is late afternoon, and what, precisely, is late afternoon? Astonishingly, there is no conventional definition of what constitutes late afternoon; yet, it is generally accepted that it is the period of day right before sunset. In an attempt to define this time, Oxford Dictionaries has labelled it the period between noon, or lunchtime, and evening.
In contrast, Cambridge Dictionaries Online takes a more particular approach and states that afternoon lasts from approximately noon, or after the midday meal, to approximately 6 p.m. — or, depending on the season, when the sun begins to set. Afternoon was referred to as “aftermete” in Middle English, which meaning “after the midday meal.” Late afternoon is difficult to define, though, due to differences in mealtimes and the time of sunset. In fact, “late afternoon” is occasionally used as a synonym for “evening.”