I love words, they’re like jewels, each one unique. In my ‘Magic of Words’ series I focus on individual words in English and German. The first word I’ve chosen is ‘Day’
It’s one of the first things we learn, no matter which language we are speaking. In German, Italian, Spanish and French it’s part of the daily greeting but not in English, apart from ‘G’day!’ in Australia.
‘Good day’ exists in British but it’s now old-fashioned.
Americans love to say ‘Have a nice day!‘
At the beginning of each day we just say ‘good morning’ or maybe ‘hello’.
Did you know that the days of the week are named after the planets? Monday is ‘Moon-day’, Saturday is the day of Saturn and Sunday needs no explanation! You can research Tuesday to Friday yourself!
Daybreak is the very beginning of the day, when the sun starts to appear above the horizon.
The day is divided into daytime and nighttime. We work in the day and sleep at night – though for some it’s the other way round!
Older people like to say ‘in MY day’, with stress on ‘my’. It means ‘in my time’, when I was young’. Uncle Albert in the TV comedy Only Fools and Horses liked to say this.
People refer to their ‘salad days’, the time when they were young and inexperienced. That comes from Shakespeare.
‘Days’ often means a stage or chapter either at the beginning: ‘It’s early days’ – or at the end: ‘It has seen better days’, a polite way to describe something that’s old and run down. ‘It has had its day’ means its ‘glory days’ are in the past. ‘Days of Heaven’ is a favourite film of mine.
‘On this day’ is a feature found in the media about events that took place on a particular date in the past. It should really be ‘On this date’ but that doesn’t sound so good!
‘Those were the days’ is an expression of nostalgia, like ‘the good old days’ and is the name of a song by Mary Hopkin. Days can also be bad. People talk about the dark days of the war.
Many people like to daydream. Some say it’s a waste of time though it can be very productive. I love to daydream!
Day is also a surname. Doris Day is perhaps the most famous person named ‘Day’.
Day is also important in travel. You can by a Day Ticket to travel on buses trains or trams. If you’re travelling by ferry, you can take a ‘day sailing’. The Beatles sang a song about a ‘Daytripper’ and there’s also ‘Yesterday’, perhaps their most famous song.
Two days ago it was ‘the day before yesterday’ and two days from now it will be ‘the day after tomorrow’.
If you’ve ever had to endure a long and difficult time, or perhaps a journey, you might start with ‘day after day’. Those words are in the song ‘Fool on the Hill’ by the Beatles. ‘Day in, day out’ is also used for a long and stressful time, maybe working in a job you don’t like. And if everything is going wrong for you, then it’s definitely ‘one of those days.’
‘Day by day’ means ‘gradually’, ‘over a period of time’ and is the first line of the song of the same name from the musical ‘Godspell’
‘Day’ is something to look forward to in the future, when people finally have justice: ‘Our day will come’ or ‘We will have our day in court’.
Sometimes the original meaning seems to be transformed. Superman always ‘saves the day’ – he is victorious, he beats the baddies and protects everyone.
Mayday is the international emergency call and refers to the first day of the month of May, a day of celebration.
Birthdays and feast days are important in all countries. St Patrick’s Day is on 17th March and St George’s Day is on 23rd April. Please note we say ‘on the seventeenth of March’ and ‘on the twenty-third of April.’ Remember that’s short for ‘on the 23rd DAY of April.
‘ is a bright, sunny word. You might think of the song ‘Beautiful Day’ by U2, though ‘Blue Monday’ by New Order doesn’t sound quite so cheerful.
The Domesday Book was a survey of England and Wales made in 1082 by William the Conqueror. Doomsday is the day of the last judgement described in some religions, as well as being the Marvel superhero, Doomsday.
If you want to say healthy, remember that ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’.
‘At the end of the day’ is used in many poems. It is also a phrase that’s often used – or should I say over-used – by many footballers and managers on TV discussion programmes!
Well, as far as this article is concerned, I think we’ll ‘call it a day’ – we’ll finish!
I will soon be writing an article on the amazing German word ‘der Tag’.