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Saturday

[ sat-er-dey, -dee ]
/ ˈsæt ərˌdeɪ, -di /
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noun
the seventh day of the week, following Friday.

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Origin of Saturday

before 900; Middle English Saturdai;Old English Saternesdæg, partial translation of Latin Sāturnī diēs Saturn's day; cognate with Dutch zaterdag,Low German saterdag
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

BEHIND THE WORD

What does Saturday mean?

Saturday is the day between Friday and Sunday.

In much of North and South America, where most countries (including the U.S. and Canada) consider the calendar week to begin on Sunday, Saturday is the seventh and final day of the week. In other places, including in much of Europe and Asia, the week is considered to begin on Monday, making Saturday the sixth day of the week. In parts of the Middle East and other places, the week is considered to begin on Saturday.

Regardless of when the week officially begins, in many places Saturday is considered (along with Sunday) one of the two days that make up the weekend, during which many people do not work. In contrast, the other five days, Monday through Friday, are considered weekdays, which make up the workweek (or school week). In this sense, Saturday is not considered a weekday but a weekend day.

Many people’s favorite day is Saturday because it’s the official start of the weekend, with another weekend day ahead of it. (Friday evening is often considered the unofficial start of the weekend, but Friday is still considered a weekday.) Like the weekend itself, Saturday is associated with rest, relaxation, and freedom from responsibility—along with the free time to do whatever one wants.

In Judaism, Saturday is Shabbat (or the Sabbath), a day of rest and religious observance (technically lasting from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday).

The word Saturdays can be used as an adverb meaning every Saturday or on Saturdays, as in I work Saturdays or The shop is only open Saturdays. 

To indicate the general time of day during which something will happen on a Saturday, the word can be followed by the general time, as in Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, Saturday evening, and Saturday night.

Example: I love a Saturday without plans, when I can do whatever I want all day.

Where does Saturday come from?

The first records of the word Saturday come from before 900. It comes from the Middle English Saturdai, from the Old English Saternesdæg, which is a partial translation of the Latin Sāturnī diēs, meaning “Saturn’s day.”

The ancient Romans named the day we call Saturday after the planet Saturn, which was named for their god of agriculture. This naming system was based on the one credited to the ancient Babylonians, who are thought to be the first to use a seven-day week and who named each of the seven days after planets and other celestial bodies.

As is the case for Saturday, we still base the names of some days on celestial bodies—Sunday is “Sun’s day” and Monday is “moon’s day”. The rest of the days of the week are named for mythological figures, but along the way the Roman gods were swapped out for figures from Norse and Germanic mythology. Tuesday derives its name from Tiu, war god of Anglo-Saxon mythology. Wednesday gets its name from Woden, the Anglo-Saxon equivalent of Odin. Thursday is named for Thor, hammer-wielding god of thunder (and son of Odin). Friday is thought to be named for love goddess Freya or chief goddess Frigg, wife of Odin.

In Christianity, Holy Saturday is the day before Easter.

In U.S. history, the Saturday Night Massacre is a name for the events of October 20, 1973, during which senior government officials resigned to protest actions by President Richard Nixon related to the Watergate scandal.

In pop culture, Saturday Night Live is a long-running sketch comedy show that’s broadcast live on Saturday night.

If you’re curious to know more about the history behind the word Saturday, just read our article on the name’s fascinating origins.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to Saturday?

  • Saturdays (plural noun, adverb)
  • Sat (abbreviation)
  • Sat. (abbreviation)

What are some words that share a root or word element with Saturday

What are some words that often get used in discussing Saturday?

How is Saturday used in real life?

People love and look forward to Saturday because it’s the official start of the weekend, when they can do what they want to do, whether it’s taking part in their hobbies, going to a party, or nothing at all.

 

 

Try using Saturday!

Which celestial body is Saturday named for?

A. the moon
B. the sun
C. Saturn
D. Mercury

How to use Saturday in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Saturday

Saturday
/ (ˈsætədɪ, -deɪ) /

noun
the seventh and last day of the week: the Jewish Sabbath

Word Origin for Saturday

Old English sæternes dæg, translation of Latin Sāturnī diēs day of Saturn; compare Middle Dutch saterdach, Dutch zaterdag
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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