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A Week of Words: It’s Friday, Friday

An emotional sight

By Becky Todd

Our quest for knowledge in the ‘A Week of Words’ series continues as we are led once again by Becky and her humourous remarks  through the depths of etymology (if you don’t know what this word means by now, you really should read this) and beyond.

Thursday and Friday

“It’s Friday, Friday. Gotta get down on Friday. Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend.”  Ancient Greek philosopher, a long time ago

Many of you will have seen the spectacular Marvel film, Thor, or heard about his exciting life as God of Thunder, but not all of you may know that Thursday is actually the day of Thor. The Old English is Purresdeag,’ once again coming from an ancient German stem of ‘þonaroz,’ which literally means thunder. This has evolved to the present day, and we get the words ‘Thunder’ in English, and the German translation ‘donner’. Not only is this a reindeer, but it also gives Germany their name for Thursday, ‘Donnerstag.’Donar’ is the West Germanic name for Thor. The reason for naming it after Thor is due to the inspiration of the Romans with their ‘Jovis dies,’ they day of Jupiter, whom the Germans equated to Thor. Once again, the romantic languages have taken the Latin inspiration more directly and landed themselves with words such as ’jeudi’ (French) and ‘juvenes’ (Spanish).

An emotional sight

It’s time to get down with everyone’s favourite day of the week – Friday! Yet again, Germanic gods are popping up again to influence our language. The Old English ‘fridgedeag’ means Friday. It has nothing to do with chilled food and everything to do with the goddess Frigga who was the Germanic goddess of love, and Odin’s wife. The English word comes from Old Norse, the adjective meaning ‘beloved, loving,’ and ‘wife.’ The Norse name for the planet Venus was Friggjarstjarna  (Frigg’s star) and so once more we find ourselves with the German translation of Latin, of ‘dies Veneris,’ obviously, the day of Venus. As per usual, equivalents reflect this in other languages, including ‘Frietag’ (German) and ‘vendredi’ (French). I hope that you’re getting the hang of this.

Photography: 1) by Sérgio Jardim on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0); 2) by mhaller1979 on Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

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