DAYS OF THE WEEK

day 

from Old English dæg, a Germanic word with similar associated words in other European languages. The word comes from an ancient root meaning 'the time when the sun is hot'.

Odd fact: It is not related to the Latin word dies, day, from which we get words such as diary and dial, which also deal with the passage of time.

Our word 'day' is related to dawn, which comes from Old English dagian, 'to become day'; and also to daisy, from Old English dæges eage, meaning 'day's eye'. This refers to the way the flower opens its petals in the morning and closes them at night.

week 

The modern words comes direct from Middle English wyke, wowke, weke. They, in turn, came from the earlier Old English wice, wicu, wucu. The ancient root of the word meant 'order'.

Special note: If you aren't sure what Old English and Middle English are, please have a look at the other website, The Brain Rummager Too. The direct link is on the Home Page and the main Menu.

This term was originally used to denote a period in which a series of events took place. Unlike the month and year, the concept of a week has nothing to do with the Sun or Moon — it has no astronomical basis. It was introduced to the calendar in about 312 AD by the Roman emperor Constantine. The magic number 7 was borrowed from ancient Babylonians myths and beliefs. You can find the same set of seven days in the first book of the Bible, Genesis.

THE GODS OF THE DAYS

 

Roman gods of the days

Germanic & Norse gods

Sunday

Sol, the Sun  

Monday

Luna, the Moon  

Tuesday

Marsh

Tiu, Tiw, Ziu

Wednesday

Mercury Woden. Odin

Thursday

Jove (Jupiter) Thor

Friday

Venus Freya, Frigg

Saturday

Saturn  

Sunday 

from Old English sunnandæg, which is a translation of the Latin dies solis, day of the sun. Sol was the Roman god of the sun. You can still see is name in words such as solar.

Monday 

from Old English monandæg, meaning moon’s day, translated from the Latin lunae dies, day of the moon. Luna was the Roman goddess of the moon. Her name is the basis of words like lunar.

Tuesday

from Old English tiwesdaeg, meaning day of Tiw, also called Tiu, the Anglo-Saxon god of war, equivalent of Tyr in Norse mythology. The Latin name for this day was dies Martis, day of Mars, in honour of the Roman god of war. So Tuesday is a rather war-like day!

Wednesday 

from Old English wodnesdaeg, day of Woden or Wodin, the main Anglo-Saxon god, equivalent of the Norse god Odin. The Romans called this day Mercurii dies, day of Mercury, to honour the messenger of the gods. The Romans borrowed Mercury from the ancient Greeks, who named him Hermes.

Thursday  

from Old English Thursdæg, Thor's day. Thor was the Norse god of thunder. The Romans called this day dies Jovis, Jove's day, in honour of Jove (Jupiter), the ruler of the gods. Our word thunder is derived from Thor, but Jove is the source of our word jovial!

Friday

from Old English frigedaeg, Frigg's day, Freya's day. Freya was the Norse goddess of love. Alternatively, it might be from Frigg or Frigga + dæg day. Frigga was the wife of Odin. The old Roman name for this day was dies Vener, in honour of their goddess of love, Venus.

Saturday 

from Old English sæternedæg, translated from Latin Saturni dies, Saturn's day. Saturn was the Roman god of agriculture.

DAYS IN OTHER EUROPEAN LANGUAGES

The days of the week and the origins of their names in some other European languages.

ENGLISH

 

GERMAN

 

DUTCH

 

DANISH

 

ITALIAN

 

FRENCH

 

Sunday

 

Sonntag

sun

 

zondag

sun

 

søndag

sun

 

domenica

lord

 

dimanche

from Latin dominica

Monday

 

Montag

moon

maandag

moon

mandag

moon

lunedì

luna

lundi

luna

Tuesday

 

Dienstag

Tiw/Tyr/ Ziu

dinsdag

same as German

tirsdag

Tyr

martedì

Mars

mardi

Mars

Wednesday

 

Mittwoch

midweek

woesdag

Woden

onsdag

Odin?

mercoledì

Mercury

mercredi

Mercury

Thursday

Donnerstag

thunder

donderdag

thunder

torsdag

Thor

giovedì

Jove

jeudi

Jove

Friday

 

Freitag

Freya

vrijdag

Freya

fredag

Freya

venerdì

Venus

vendredi

Venus

Saturday

 

Samstag

Saturn?

zaterdag

Saturn

lørdag

washday

sabato

from Latin sabbata

samedi

from Latin sabbati

 

Months of the year

 

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