Days of the week - Meanings

The meanings behind the names of the seven days of the week. The days of the week are named after ancient gods. Each is explained in detail below.

Monday

The name Monday comes from the Old English Monandæg, meaning "day of the Moon";

Tuesday

Tuesday comes from the Old English Tiwesdæg, meaning "Tyr's day." Tyr was the Norse god of combat. In countries that didn't have a norse influence it is the "Day of Mars" (the Roman war god); In French this translates as mardi and in Spanish martes.

Wednesday

This name comes from the Old English Wodnesdæg meaning the day of the Woden or Odin, the father of the Gods. It is based on Latin dies Mercurii, "Day of Mercury"; in French mercredi and Spanish miércoles. The Germans have renamed this day as Mittwoch, which simply means middle of the week.

Thursday

The original meaning of Thursday comes from the Old English Þunresdæg, or Thor's day. Thor was the Germanic and Norse god of thunder. In Germany the same route leads to Donnerstag. Donner can be directly translated as thunder.

In latin countries Thursday was the "Day of Jupiter"; which becomes the French jeudi and Spanish jueves.

Friday

The name Friday celebrates the Norse goddess of beauty Frigg, In Latin the "Day of Venus" (also the goddess of beauty); leads to vendredi and Spanish viernes.

Saturday

Saturday is the only English day of the week to retain its Roman origin. Saturday "Day of Saturn"; In southern Europe the catholic church remembers the jewish sabbath in the names (French samedi and Spanish sábado).

Sunday

The name is quite literally the Sun's Day. Attempts by the church to replace this remenant of pagan worship with 'The Lords Day' failed in northern europe but succeeded in southern europe where Dimanche (french) and Domingo (spanish) have their routes in the Latin dies Dominica which is literally "the Lord's day" .

The etymology of the names of the days of the weeks gives us insights into the political and social history of our nations. The southern europeans and northern europeans have different conventions for naming the days of the week due to the differing influences of the Romans, Saxon and Norsemen and later the Catholic and Protestant churches.