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Wednesday

[ wenz-dey, -dee ]
/ ˈwɛnz deɪ, -di /
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noun
the fourth day of the week, following Tuesday.

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Origin of Wednesday

before 950; Middle English Wednesdai,Old English *Wēdnesdæg, mutated variant of Wōdnesdæg Woden's day; cognate with Dutch Woensdag,Danish onsdag; translation of Latin Mercuriī diēs day of Mercury

Words nearby Wednesday

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

BEHIND THE WORD

What does Wednesday mean?

Wednesday is the weekday between Tuesday and Thursday.

In much of North and South America, where most countries (including the U.S. and Canada) consider the calendar week to begin on Sunday, Wednesday is the fourth day of the week. (In other places, where the week is considered to begin on Saturday or Monday, Wednesday is the fifth or third day of the week.)

Regardless of when the week officially begins, in many places Wednesday is considered the third day of the workweek, the five-day span from Monday to Friday during which many people work (with Saturday and Sunday considered the weekend).

Because Wednesday falls directly in the middle of the workweek (around what is called midweek), with two days on either side, it is sometimes informally referred to as hump day. This is a humorous way of expressing the idea that it is the day on which everyone makes it “over the hump,” as if the workweek were a hill with Wednesday as the point after which everything starts to be “downhill” toward the weekend.

The word Wednesdays can be used as an adverb meaning every Wednesday or on Wednesdays, as in I work Wednesdays or The shop is closed Wednesdays.

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

Example: I’m glad it’s finally Wednesday and the workweek is halfway over, but that means we still have two days to go.

Where does Wednesday come from?

The first records of the word Wednesday come from before 950. It comes from the Middle English Wednesdai, from the Old English Wōdnesdæg, meaning “Woden‘s day.” This is a translation of (or is modeled on) the Latin term Mercuriī diēs, meaning “Mercury’s day.” In Old English, the Roman god Mercury was subbed out in favor of Woden, the chief god of Anglo-Saxon mythology (equivalent to the Norse god Odin).

Wednesday is just one of the days of the week named after a mythological figure. Tuesday derives its name from Tiu, war god of Anglo-Saxon mythology. 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. Saturday’s name comes from Saturn, Roman god of agriculture.

In pop culture, Wednesday is known as the name of the character Wednesday Addams from the Addams Family series of shows and movies.

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

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to Wednesday?

  • Wednesdays (plural noun, adverb)
  • Wed (abbreviation)
  • Wed. (abbreviation)
  • Weds (abbreviation)
  • Weds. (abbreviation)

What are some synonyms for Wednesday?

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

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

How is Wednesday used in real life?

Wednesday is especially associated with its position in the middle of the workweek, meaning it is often seen as a hopeful halfway point to the weekend.

 

Try using Wednesday!

Which mythological figure is Wednesday named for?

A. Hermes
B. Woden
C. Ares
D. Saturn

How to use Wednesday in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Wednesday

Wednesday
/ (ˈwɛnzdɪ, -deɪ) /

noun
the fourth day of the week; third day of the working week

Word Origin for Wednesday

Old English Wōdnes dæg Woden's day, translation of Latin mercurii dies Mercury's day; related to Old Frisian wōnsdei, Middle Dutch wōdensdach (Dutch woensdag)
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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