Today it’s Thursday! Yes, but…why is it so called?

5a--days%20of%20the%20weekEvery day we use words which date back to many centuries ago, without thinking about their origins. Have you ever wondered why the days of the week are named as they are?

Here we give you some examples of the etymology of the days of the week. You can participate and leave us a comment with the etymology of any day of the week in your mother tongue. Let’s find it out together!


Its origins come from the Latin dies solis, meaning “the sun’s day”. It was also called domenica “the day of God”.

French: dimanche; Italian: domenica; Spanish: domingo; German: Sonntag.


It refers to the Anglo-Saxon monandaeg, “the moon’s day”. The Romans called it dies lunae.

French: lundi; Italian: lunedì; Spanish: lunes; German: Montag.


In English it is so called because of the Norse god, Tyr (also known as Tiwaz and Tiw), who was an ancient god of war. In Romance languages it derives from dies martis, “the day of Mars”, the Roman god of war.

French: mardi; Italian: martedì; Spanish: martes; German: Dienstag;


It comes from the name of the Anglo-Saxon god Woden. In Latin it was dies mercurii after the Roman god Mercury.

French: mercredi; Italian: mercoledi; Spanish: miércoles; German: Mittwoch;


“Thor”, one of the most famous gods of all times, is the inspiration for this day. In Latin it was dies jovis, which means “Jupiter’s day”.

French: jeudi; Italian: giovedì; Spanish: jueves; German: Donnerstag;


In most Romance languages Friday is related to Latin dies Veneris or “day of Venus”. Meanwhile from the old English Frīġedæġ, Friday means the “day of Frigg” (from the old English goddess Frige associated with the Roman goddess Venus).


And the seventh day of the week is the only one in English with a Roman origin, named after the god Saturn. In Scandinavian countries it is called lördag, “lørdag,” and laurdag. This derives from the old word laugr or laug, whose meaning is bath.

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8 Responses to Today it’s Thursday! Yes, but…why is it so called?

  1. Laurynas says:

    In the Lithuanian language all days of the week are named according to the ordinal numbers, for example, Monday – pirmadienis (pirma = first, diena = day), which clearly indicates that the week starts on Monday. The names of the days that we use now were given by one of the most prominent Lithuanian linguists Jonas Jablonskis (1860–1930).

  2. Susana says:

    In Portugal as well, just Monday is considered to be the second day of the week (segunda-feira). Nice research, by the way.

  3. Nelida K. says:

    Although neither is my native language, nor part of my pair of working languages, please note:
    in German, days of the week (like all nouns) are written with a capital letter.
    In Portuguese, names of the days of the week are named also according the ordinal numbers, with the exception of Sunday (Domingo) and Saturday (Sábado), but considering Sunday the first day of the week; therefore: Sunday, Segunda, Terça, Quarta, Quinta, Sexta, Sábado.

  4. nice post! my favourite is thursday (Thor´s day).
    In Portuguese, Sábado comes from the Jewish word Shabbat (“day of rest”). But God rested on the 7th day, so why is saturday and not sunday (which is the 7th day of the week) called Sábado? That is because in Portugal (like in Jewish cultures) the working week used to start on Sunday. Therefore, Monday is called “segunda-feira” (the second day of fair/market)

  5. Nelida K. says:

    Just as an afterthought, I wish to point out that I am not familiar with the capitalization rules in Portuguese, but if they are anything similar to the ones in Spanish, days of the week are written in lowercase. Perhaps a Portuguese or Brazilian colleague will step in and confirm one way or the other.

  6. This is a lovely blog, it is very interesting to notice individual differences between naming procedures in different cultures. Thor’s day ah, never thought about that one! As for the capitalization, I can confirm that in Portuguese days of the week don’t need it, unless if represented as single word.

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