Since today is Wednesday, I thought I’d write a bit about the origins of the word. It’s odd that Christianity has dominated Western culture for so long, but the days of the week remain, holdovers from the time of paganism. I have a feeling quite a few of my ancestors spoke a variety of Germanic tongues, everything from Old English to proto-German.

Ever since learning my paternal line is Nordic—at least the Y chromosome—I’ve been paying more attention to the Germanic languages and cultures. Wikipedia has some good background on the word.

The name is derived from Old English Wōdnesdæg and Middle English Wednesdei, “day of Wodanaz“, ultimately a calque of dies Mercurii “day of Mercury.”

What I find particularly curious is the change in German, apparently influence from the Slavs, from Wodanstag to Mittwoch. This may have happened in the 10th century.

The German name for the day, Mittwoch (literally: “mid-week”), replaced the former name Wodanstag (“Wodan’s day”) in the tenth century.


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