Origin of Day Names

Days of the Week Names

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Where did the names of the days of the week come from? The names originated with the ancient Romans, who used the Latin words for the Sun, the Moon, and the five known planets! Our English names also reflect the influence of the Anglo-Saxons (and other Germanic peoples). Learn all about the days of the week origins.

In naming the seven days of the week as checkpoints in time, the ancient Romans choose seven celestial bodies that could be seen with the naked eye: the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn. For example, “Sunday” is the Sun’s day and “Monday” is the Moon’s day.

When it comes to the English names that we use today for days of the week, we can also see the influence of the Anglo-Saxons and the old German gods. For example, “Wednesday ” comes from Woden, the Anglo-Saxon king of the gods; in Saxon, the name is “Wodnesdaeg.” (Now you know why Wednesday is spelled that way!)

See the complete days of the week origins across multiple languages.

Days of the Week Origins

EnglishLatinFrenchItalianSpanishSaxon
SUNDAYdies Solis (Sol’s day. Sol was an ancient Roman sun god.)dimanche (from the Latin for “Lord’s day”)domenica (from the Latin for “Lord’s day”)domingo (from the Latin for “Lord’s day”)Sunnandaeg (Sun’s day. Day of Sun)
MONDAYdies Lunae (Luna’s day. Luna was an ancient Roman moon goddess.)lundilunedìlunesMonandaeg   (Moon’s day. Day of Moon.)
TUESDAYdies Martis (Mars’s day. Mars was an ancient Roman god of war.)mardimartedìmartesTiwesdaeg (Tiw’s day. Tiw was an Anglo-Saxon god of war.)
WEDNESDAYdies Mercurii (Mercury’s day. Mercury was a messenger of the ancient Roman gods, and a god of commerce.)mercredimercoledìmiércolesWodnesdaeg (Woden was the Anglo-Saxon king of the gods.)
THURSDAYdies Jovis

(Jupiter’s, or Jove’s, day. Jupiter, or Jove, was the king of the ancient Roman gods, and a god of sky and thunder.)
jeudigiovedìjuevesThursdaeg   (Thor’s day. Thor was a Norse god of thunder, lightning, and storms.)
FRIDAYdies Veneris (Venus’s day. Venus was the ancient Roman goddess of love.)vendredivenerdìviernesFrigedaeg   (Frigga’s day. Frigg was a Norse goddess of home, marriage, and fertility.)
SATURDAYdies Saturni   (Saturn’s day)samedi   (from the Latin for “Sabbath”)sabato   (from the Latin for “Sabbath”)bado   (from the Latin for “Sabbath”)Saeterndaeg   (Saturn’s day. Saturn was an ancient Roman god of fun and feasting.)

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