Origin of Day Names

Primary Image

Days of the Week Names

Print Friendly and PDF
Body

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

English Latin French Italian Spanish Saxon
 SUNDAY

dies 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)

 MONDAY

dies Lunae

(Luna’s day. Luna was an ancient Roman moon goddess.)

 lundi  lunedì  lunes Monandaeg

(Moon’s day. Day of Moon.)
 TUESDAY

dies Martis

(Mars’s day. Mars was an ancient Roman god of war.)

 mardi  martedì  martes

Tiwesdaeg

(Tiw’s day. Tiw was an Anglo-Saxon god of war.)

 WEDNESDAY

dies Mercurii

(Mercury’s day. Mercury was a messenger of the ancient Roman gods, and a god of commerce.)

 mercredi  mercoledì  miércoles

Wodnesdaeg

(Woden was the Anglo-Saxon king of the gods.)

 THURSDAY

dies 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.)

 jeudi  giovedì  jueves Thursdaeg

(Thor’s day. Thor was a Norse god of thunder, lightning, and storms.)
 FRIDAY

dies Veneris

(Venus’s day. Venus was the ancient Roman goddess of love.)

 vendredi  venerdì  viernes Frigedaeg

(Frigga’s day. Frigg was a Norse goddess of home, marriage, and fertility.)
 SATURDAY dies Saturni

(Saturn’s day)
 samedi

(from the Latin for “Sabbath”)
 sabato

(from the Latin for “Sabbath”)
 sábado

(from the Latin for “Sabbath”)
Saeterndaeg

(Saturn’s day. Saturn was an ancient Roman god of fun and feasting.)


If you enjoyed this article, check out some more calendar facts from the Almanac:

2022_planner_spring_ad_1.png