Monday, May 7, 2012

Word of the Week - Weekend

Don't you just love the weekend? That beautiful, sanity-saving time from Friday night until we wake up for work or school on Monday. It's lovely. It's brilliant. It's necessary.

Yet really, it's kind of new!

The word "weekend" dates back to the 1600s, but it meant, literally, the end of the week--as in, from after church on Sunday until Monday morning. Which was the only time most people took off from their labors back then. According to, it took on "general" meaning in 1878. But I've looked this up for a story so happen to know that at that point "general" just mean all of Sunday. Folks didn't yet consider Saturday part of the weekend.

In Downton Abbey (circa 1912) Matthew Crawley says, "And of course we always have the weekends." To which the dowager Lady Crawley says, aghast, "Whatever is a weekend?" This is a pretty good demonstration of the time, LOL. By the early 20th century, there was more of a traditional weekend--by which I mean, professional businesses closed after half a day on Saturday, and schools had a 5-day week, I believe. But those in lower class jobs would still have only gotten one day off. It wasn't until the mid-20th century that it took on a two-day meaning for everyone.

And as an adjective meaning "on the weekends only" (a weekend retreat, for instance, or a weekend read), dates from 1935.

To change the subject, today the Colonial Quills are celebrating our 1 year anniversary! And of course, we're celebrating in style, and with some fun giveaways. Please join us in raising a glass (of chocolate, LOL) to our contributors and celebrating their accomplishments this year!


  1. My daughter was asking about this the other day - why would Saturday and Sunday be the "weekend" if Sunday is the first day of the week (according to the NT)? And this, I must say, does NOT help LOL.

    And I'm headed over to Colonial Quills to see if I can't win something ;)

    1. LOL. Let's keep in mind that during the time in question, when the word came about, Sunday was considered the Sabbath. And as the day off, it would feel like the end of the week, not the beginning. Not to mention that "weekbeginning" just doesn't have the same ring to it. ;-)

  2. hehe - I suppose you're off the hook, Roseanna. I'm still not sharing this with my daughter, but you're off the hook.

  3. I love your picture up there!! The one with the palm trees and the smiley face guy sitting in a hammock--it is so cute! How could you not smile back at him?

    The word weekend is a complex word then. I would have never guessed!

    I am planning on heading over to Colonial Quills in a moment! I love that blog!

    Thank you for your insightful post today about weekends!

  4. I am ridiculously thankful to live in a time when two days off is expected. AND to have been created by a God who understands and values my need for rest :)