Last week’s post about Frigga being the source of the word Friday made me think about the other days of the week. I knew Thursday came from Thor (another Norse god, fond of his hammer) and Wednesday had something to do with Woden, but hadn’t a clue on the rest. Cue some research.
Monday literally translates (in lots of languages, not just English) as day of the moon. The word dates from around 1000 A.D. and Old English. No Norse god here.
Tuesday again an Old English word meaning Tiu’s day (or Tiw or Ty, depending on who you consult). He was, you’ve guessed it, a Norse god. You’ll find some entertaining tales about him here. Interestingly he was a war god and so was Mars (from the Roman pantheon). In many languages the day is named after Mars – Mardi (French) and De Mart (Irish), for example. Either way – Tuesday is named for the god of war.
Wednesday is again named for one Norse god and, depending on language, a Roman god. The Norse god this time is Odin (Woden in Germanic terms) and he’s credited with creating people and the universe. But if you’re French you’ll call Wednesday Mercredi and that’s from Mercury – the Roman messenger god, the one with the winged sandals and helmet.
Thursday is named for Thor, another Norse god. The one with the hammer.
Friday, as discussed in an earlier post, is named for Frigga a Norse goddess. In another parallel – the Romans named this day after a female god of their own – Venus – hence Vendredi in French.
Saturday is named for Saturn (the god of wealth and time) by the Roman’s and this time the Norse decided to skip the gods and named it Lordag – washing day.
Sunday as you might expect has a religious source. The Roman root “dies solis” (in Latin – day of the sun) records a pagan holiday alright, but later it’s called “Dominica” (day of God in Latin) which turns into Dimanche in French. In many other languages the word for this day translates as “no work day”.
See further reading on this topic at The Encyclopedia Mythica.
If you were feeling adventurous you could have a word origin week as follows; Monday – ebb and flow with the moon, Tuesday – make war, Wednesday – creativity and communication, Thursday – DIY (hammers, get it?), Friday – dedicated to love, Saturday – do your washing, and Sunday – relax. Apart from Tuesday, not a bad week overall.
Until next time, happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,