Understanding the Days of the Week in French

Looking for the days of the week in French? We got ’em:

  • Monday: lundi
  • Tuesday: mardi
  • Wednesday: mercredi
  • Thursday: jeudi
  • Friday: vendredi
  • Saturday: samedi
  • Sunday: dimanche

If you’d like to brush up on the days of the week in French, the months of the years, and radically improve your oral comprehension, perhaps it’s time to try Yabla (first 15 days free!). In the meantime, though, a couple notes about the list above. French calendars start their week on Monday, rather than Sunday. And unlike in English, days of the week in French are not capitalized — so lundi is correct, lowercase L and all.

1. Monday/lundi

Lundi, like the rest of the days of week in French, is derived from Latin: lunae dies, or “day of the moon.” (You’ll recall that French for “moon” is “lune.”)

day of the week in french lundi

2. Tuesday/mardi

Not all Tuesdays are mardi gras, but all mardis are indeed Tuesdays. Again coming from the Latin, mardi descends from diēs Martis, or “day of Mars.”

3. Wednesday/mercredi

You will likely not be surprised to learn that there’s no neat analogue to “Happy hump day” in French (see here for an illuminating discussion of this topic). Mercredi is derived, once more, from Latin, this time for diēs Mercuriī, of “day of Mercury.” Those Roman gods are really getting a workout here.

4. Thursday/jeudi

Thursday, similarly, is a day without quite the same Thursday-means-it’s-almost-Friday-means-it’s-almost-the-weekend resonance in the anglophone world — could that be a reflection of the Anglo-Saxon approach to work?

Want to take a guess about the etymology of jeudi? Would you be shocked to learn it’s related to diēs Iovis, of “day of Jupiter” in Latin?

5. Friday/vendredi

You will be shocked — shocked! — to learn that vendredi comes from the Latin, for diēs Veneris: “day of Venus.”

day of the week in french vendredi

6. Saturday/samedi

“Wine o’clock” doesn’t translate perfectly into French, but getting a drink on a Saturday night is, happily, a near-universal concept.

Perhaps you have not guessed that while samedi is related to the Latin diēs Sabbatī, or “day of the Sabbath,” it also has a connection to the Hebrew שַׁבָּת, or shabát.

day of the week in french dimanche

7. Sunday/dimanche

And finally: dimanche does, in fact, come from Latin — from diēs Dominicus, or “day of the Lord.” It is also, in French, the day of flea markets and extreme relaxation — for lounging in the Champ de Mars (there he is again), in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

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