I'm trying to say very briefly that the night was starry and there was the moon also.


Is it correct to say moon starry night? If not, do you see any option?


Maybe mooned starry nights?


4 Answers 4


Normally if it is a moonlit night, the stars are not as bright as they are on a night without a moon, but if you mean to say that the night has both a moon and bright stars, you could say that many ways:

"The sky was lit by the moon and the stars."

"The night was starry and moonlit."

"It was a starry, moonlit night."


But "moon starry night" does not sound idiomatic at all to me.

  • 5
    Unfortunately, "moon" as a verb has a couple of meanings that have nothing to do with the actual moon in the sky: merriam-webster.com/dictionary/moon - so if you tried to use "mooned" with the intended meaning "with the moon visible" that would not work.
    – Mixolydian
    Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 21:09
  • 1
    "It was a moon-starry night" could be poetic and very nice in the right context. Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 0:04
  • 6
    Poetry isn't what English learners are usually aiming for at first. It can be very confusing to try to comprehend. But yes, I do see what you mean about the moon-starry night. It has a pretty sound.
    – Lorel C.
    Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 0:30
  • 8
    Or "moonlit, starry night"? (Most similar to the question's initial form...)
    – Stobor
    Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 3:56
  • 4
    @Stobor FWIW, I think "it was a starry moonlit night" is slightly more natural than "it was a moonlit starry night," in the same way that "a big red rubber ball" is more natural than "a red big rubber ball." It might just be due to "starry night" being a recognizable allusion, so breaking up the phrase helps eliminate that allusion from the reader's mind. Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 15:23

It's fine to say starry night - here, starry is a adjective applied to the noun night.

We can't say moon night - we need to turn moon into a adjective. One guess might be moony, but if we look that up, it has very different meaning. The word we're looking for is moonlit, which is an adjective we could use here:

It was a moonlit starry night.


I can see nothing wrong with "It was a starry night and the moon was also shining". Or just "The moon and stars were shining".

We don't say "a moony night", the phrase "a starry night" is something of a fixed idiom.

  • Well we could say a moony night if we had a lot of moons.
    – Joshua
    Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 16:23
  • 1
    @Joshua we could also say it if members of the Unification Church were out in force... :)
    – RonJohn
    Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 22:57

Other answerers have already pointed out that

It was a starry moonlit night.

fulfills your request adequately. However, word choice can also depend on context — is this supposed to sound poetic? archaic? matter-of-fact?

The night was lit by the moon and stars above.

The only source of light was the moon and stars.

The stars, almost as bright as the full moon, cast a mystical light over the scene below.

Deneb and Aldebaran blazed cheerily as always, but for once there was only a single moon in the sky.

On a night when both the moon and the stars are visible, set up your telescope on the highest point you can find.

In other words, it's hardly necessary to state that the night was lit by the moon and stars; those are by definition the things that are out at night. We don't see many sunlit nights! (At least not at my latitude.) So if you're explicitly mentioning the moon and stars, there must be a reason for it. Find that reason and work it in. With more creative possibilities, you'll have correspondingly less need to worry about one particular construction sounding stilted.

Also notice that while the moon comes and goes, the stars are always "out" — unless it's cloudy. Thus another option:

The night was moonlit and clear.

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