Days of the week word origins

Updated: Aug 14

Hello, my dear friends!


I miss you all and can't wait for the school year to start soon. Some of you who knows me might remember this little habit of mine - tracing back the origins of the words we learn! Today I am going to share an amazing fact with you: did you know that days of the week were named after planets and mythological gods they represent? Isn't that interesting? Keep reading!


Source: Joe Dubs


Let's start with French names for days of the week. My beginners know that seven days of the week are as follows (and if you don't know them yet, please log in and look for a new video called "La semaine des couleurs!", or The week of colors!):

Le lundi - comes from the Latin luna, or moon (compare to the Spanish word lunes)

le mardi - reminds us of the Roman god of war Mars (Spanish martes)

le mercredi - this day is named after the Roman god of commerce Mercury (in Spanish, miércoles). Did you ever think that some words are BEAUTIFUL? That's what I think every time when I say mercredi.

le jeudi - stems from the Latin name for Jupiter (in Spanish, jueves)

le vendredi - one of my favorite days of the week is called after the Roman goddess Venus (viernes in Spanish)

le samedi - this day has its roots in the Latin name for the god of agriculture Saturn (in Spanish, sábado)

le dimanche - the week ends with the day that in Latin meant "Lord's day" (domingo in Spanish).


Did you notice how easy it is to learn French if you already know some Spanish? Or you can learn Latin to trace back the roots of common everyday words in English. Learning Latin is like digging in the sandbox: you can find so many old treasures hidden there :)


Source: Resident Advisor


Okay, what about English days of the week? They sound very different from French or Spanish, and nothing like Latin... Does it mean that our words don't have any historic roots?


Quite the opposite. Historically, English language was influenced by Germanic tribes' languages that lived in Northern Europe. Same area where Old Norse was spoken, with its Norse mythology and Scandinavian gods.


This is how we arrive to the roots of old words we nowadays use to name the days of the week. Let's take a closer look.

Monday is called after Monandæg, which literally means "moon" + "day"

Tuesday stems from the old English Tiwesdæg, or "Tyr" + "day". Tyr, or Tiw, was a Norse god of war and justice

Wednesday, from Wodnesdæg, reminds us of the Norse leading god Odin: "Woden" +"day". Odin is a very respected god in Norse mythology, so his name is associated with wisdom, poetry, death, revelation, and learning.

Thursday, or Þurresdæg in Old English, sounds exactly like "Thor"+"day". Thor was thought to be the god of thunder and storms.

Friday is the day to remind us of the Norse goddess Frigg, who rode a chariot pulled by cats!


Source: Pinterest


Finally, we get to the weekend!

Saturday is the only day that keeps its original, Latin, roots to refer to the god of agriculture that we already heard of: "Saturn"+"day"

Sunday is called after the Sun, literally meaning "Sun"+"day". You can bet this one I will remember for sure!😄


Article sources:

https://www.altalang.com/beyond-words/days-of-the-week-word-origins/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language

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