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[dey] /deɪ/
the interval of light between two successive nights; the time between sunrise and sunset:
Since there was no artificial illumination, all activities had to be carried on during the day.
the light of day; daylight:
The owl sleeps by day and feeds by night.
  1. Also called mean solar day. a division of time equal to 24 hours and representing the average length of the period during which the earth makes one rotation on its axis.
  2. Also called solar day. a division of time equal to the time elapsed between two consecutive returns of the same terrestrial meridian to the sun.
  3. Also called civil day. a division of time equal to 24 hours but reckoned from one midnight to the next.
an analogous division of time for a planet other than the earth:
the Martian day.
the portion of a day allotted to work:
an eight-hour day.
a day on which something occurs:
the day we met.
(often initial capital letter) a day assigned to a particular purpose or observance:
New Year's Day.
a time considered as propitious or opportune:
His day will come.
a day of contest or the contest itself:
to win the day.
Often, days. a particular time or period:
the present day; in days of old.
Usually, days. period of life or activity:
His days are numbered.
period of existence, power, or influence:
in the day of the dinosaurs.
Architecture. light1 (def 19a).
call it a day, to stop one's activity for the day or for the present; quit temporarily:
After rewriting the paper, she decided to call it a day.
day and night. night (def 11).
day in, day out, every day without fail; regularly:
They endured the noise and dirt of the city day in, day out.
Also, day in and day out.
Origin of day
before 950; Middle English; Old English dæg; cognate with German Tag
Related forms
half-day, noun
preday, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for call it a day


Sir Robin. 1923–2000, British radio and television journalist, noted esp for his political interviews


Also called civil day. the period of time, the calendar day, of 24 hours' duration reckoned from one midnight to the next
  1. the period of light between sunrise and sunset, as distinguished from the night
  2. (as modifier): the day shift
the part of a day occupied with regular activity, esp work: he took a day off
(sometimes pl) a period or point in time: he was a good singer in his day, in days gone by, any day now
the period of time, the sidereal day, during which the earth makes one complete revolution on its axis relative to a particular star. The mean sidereal day lasts 23 hours 56 minutes 4.1 seconds of the mean solar day
the period of time, the solar day, during which the earth makes one complete revolution on its axis relative to the sun. The mean solar day is the average length of the apparent solar day and is some four minutes (3 minutes 56.5 seconds of sidereal time) longer than the sidereal day
the period of time taken by a specified planet to make one complete rotation on its axis: the Martian day
(often capital) a day designated for a special observance, esp a holiday: Christmas Day
all in a day's work, part of one's normal activity; no trouble
at the end of the day, in the final reckoning
day of rest, the Sabbath; Sunday
end one's days, to pass the end of one's life
every dog has his day, one's luck will come
in this day and age, nowadays
it's early days, it's too early to tell how things will turn out
late in the day
  1. very late (in a particular situation)
  2. too late
that will be the day
  1. I look forward to that
  2. that is most unlikely to happen
a time of success, recognition, power, etc: his day will soon come
a struggle or issue at hand: the day is lost
  1. the ground surface over a mine
  2. (as modifier): the day level
from day to day, without thinking of the future
call it a day, to stop work or other activity
day after day, without respite; relentlessly
day by day, gradually or progressively; daily: he weakened day by day
day in, day out, every day and all day long
from Day 1, from Day One, from the very beginning
one of these days, at some future time
(modifier) of, relating to, or occurring in the day: the day shift
See also days
adjective diurnal
Word Origin
Old English dæg; related to Old High German tag, Old Norse dagr
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for call it a day



Old English dæg "day," also "lifetime," from Proto-Germanic *dagaz (cf. Old Saxon, Middle Dutch, Dutch dag, Old Frisian dei, Old High German tag, German Tag, Old Norse dagr, Gothic dags), from PIE *dhegh-.

Not considered to be related to Latin dies (see diurnal), but rather to Sanskrit dah "to burn," Lithuanian dagas "hot season," Old Prussian dagis "summer." Meaning originally, in English, "the daylight hours;" expanded to mean "the 24-hour period" in late Anglo-Saxon times. Day off first recorded 1883; day-tripper first recorded 1897. The days in nowadays, etc. is a relic of the Old English and Middle English use of the adverbial genitive.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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call it a day in Science
See under sidereal time, solar day.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for call it a day

call it a day

verb phrase

To stop or terminate something; declare one has had enough: The Iraqi leadership has hunkered down; time to call it a day/ Any sensible assassin would have called it quits

[first form 1840s+, second 1940s+; Call quits is attested from the 1890s]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with call it a day

call it a day

Stop a particular activity for the rest of the day, as in It's past five o'clock so let's call it a day . Similarly, call it a night means “to stop something for the rest of the night,” as in One more hand of bridge and then let's call it a night . The original phrase was call it half a day , first recorded in 1838, which referred to leaving one's place of employment before the work day was over. The first recorded use of call it a day was in 1919, and of call it a night in 1938. Also see call it quits
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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