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Black Friday

[ blak-frahy-dey, -dee ]
/ ˈblæk ˈfraɪ deɪ, -di /
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noun
September 24, 1869, the date of a financial panic sparked by gold speculators.
the day after Thanksgiving, one of the busiest shopping days because of discounts offered by retailers: I sign up for promotional emails at my favorite stores before Black Friday so I don’t miss any exceptional bargains.Compare Cyber Monday, Green Monday.
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Origin of Black Friday

First recorded in 1865–70; from black in the sense “marked by disaster or misfortune”; the 1951 sense “day after Thanksgiving” originally so called from the troublesome traffic caused by shoppers and later re-explained with reference to the use of black ink to record business profits
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

MORE ABOUT BLACK FRIDAY

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday is a name used for two unrelated occasions. It is now most popularly used in the US to refer to the day after Thanksgiving, which is often considered the first day of the holiday shopping season and is known for featuring discounts from retailers.

The name Black Friday is also used to refer to September 24, 1869, the date of a financial panic in the US sparked by gold speculators.

When it refers to the Friday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday is often characterized as frenzied or chaotic, with many criticizing it as an example of consumerism and overcommercialization.

When is Black Friday?

Black Friday is always the Friday after Thanksgiving, which is always the fourth Thursday in November.

In 2022, Black Friday is November 25. In 2023, Black Friday is November 24.

More information and context on Black Friday

The first widespread use of the term Black Friday was in reference to a financial panic that began in London on May 11, 1866. The name was used again for Friday, September 24, 1869. On that day, a scheme by stock manipulators Jay Gould and James Fisk to corner the gold market instead caused its collapse. The word black was used in the sense of “marked by disaster or misfortune.” It was used this way in the names of other days, including Black Tuesday (October 29, 1929, the day of the market collapse that marked the start of the Great Depression) and Black Monday (October 19, 1987, the day the stock market experienced its greatest fall since the Great Depression).

The name Black Friday has been used to refer to the day after Thanksgiving since at least 1951. The origin of the name is often explained as a reference to the use of black ink to record business profits, but this was not its original sense. In the 1960s, the term was often used in reference to how bad the traffic was on that day. The earliest known reference, though, is in reference to workers falsely calling in sick on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

What are some terms that often get used in discussing Black Friday?

How is Black Friday discussed in real life?

Black Friday is now most commonly used in the US and other places as the name for the day after Thanksgiving, which is considered the biggest shopping and sale day of the year and the opening of the holiday shopping season. It’s often criticized as an example of consumerism and overcommercialization.

 

Try using Black Friday!

True or False?

Black Friday always falls on the day after Thanksgiving.

How to use Black Friday in a sentence

Other Idioms and Phrases with Black Friday

Black Friday

1

Also Black Monday, Black Tuesday, etc. A day of economic catastrophe, as in We feared there'd be another Black Friday. This usage dates from September 24, 1869, a Friday when stock manipulators Jay Gould and James Fisk tried to corner the gold market and caused its collapse. The adjective black has been appended to similar occasions ever since, including October 29, 1929, the Tuesday of the market collapse that marked the start of the Great Depression, and Black Monday of October 19, 1987, when the stock market experienced its greatest fall since the Great Depression.

2

Any day marked by great confusion or activity, as in It was just my luck to be traveling on Black Tuesday. This usage, too, is based on the events of 1869, marked by economic chaos. It has since been extended to other kinds of confusion, such as an accident hampering traffic during the evening rush hour.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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