Facts about Wednesday

Facts about Wednesday

Constantly changing, the English language is vibrant in its ability to take from all different languages and transform it into its’ own. Despite being fairly intuitive, there are some words that just don’t seem to make any sense. The word Wednesday is one of those words that don’t make any sense.

Based on the way we pronounce the word, one would expect to write something closer to “wenzday”, but instead, we are stuck with this strangely spelled word. So what is the origin of the word Wednesday? And what can it tell us about the English language?

Fun Facts about Wednesday

The Origin of the Word Wednesday: Odin Day

The word “Wednesday” comes from the Middle English term, “Wednesdei”, and the old English term, “Wodnesday”. The third day of the week was actually named after an Anglo-Saxon god named Woden, or Odin. On his day, Woden was known to passionately carry the dead off. This important figure in German mythology was known for being one of the founding fathers of different Germanic people. With one eye, a long beard, and wearing a cloak and hat, Woden travelled the world with his animal companions, wolves and ravens. So, this explains the strange spelling of the word Wednesday, which derives from “Woden’s day”.

Mercury Day

But the story of the origin of the word Wednesday doesn’t stop here! “Woden Day” was actually a translation of “Mercury Day”. In Latin languages, the name of the third day of the week still remains true to this roman god. For example, in French, “Wednesday” is “Mercredi”. In fact, Woden is the Germanic version of the Roman god Mercury. Just like Woden, Mercury was an important Roman god who had the responsibility of guiding souls into the underworld after death.

Various Spellings

Rest assured that you are not the only one who has difficulties in writing the word “Wednesday”! Woden’s day has had lots of different spellings over the years, including, “weodnesdei”, “wenysday” and “weddinsday”. Even William Shakespeare, the famous British playwright, tried to change the spelling so that it would match the pronunciation by proposing “Wensday”.

Summary about Wednesday

Although, it seems pretty annoying that there is that silent “d” in “wednesday”, by taking it away, it would no longer really pay tribute to the German god Woden. Knowing that, we guess we’re ok with spelling it the way it is. As if we had a choice!

+ Bonus Knowledge Nugget

The appearance of the wizard, Gandalf, in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy was inspired by Woden’s physical appearance described in German mythology, which showed him as a powerful wanderer.