The seven days of the week are part of the vocabulary that is learnt at a very early stage when learning a foreign language.
So, here is for you the list of the 7 days of the week in English and in French with the abbreviations used in French:
- Monday → lundi → lun.
- Tuesday → mardi → mar.
- Wednesday → mercredi → mer.
- Thursday → jeudi → jeu.
- Friday → vendredi → ven.
- Saturday → samedi → sam.
- Sunday → dimanche → dim.
Note that in French, you do not need to capitalise the days of the week.
Although the French names all look very different from the English ones, all the names in both languages are based on a similar idea or system: the days of the week are named after planets of the solar system or after the gods that these planets are associated with.
For example in French, Monday (the day of the moon) is lundi (le jour de la lune ; lune means moon). The part di in the French names of the week comes form the latin dies and means day.
Let’s look at another example: Tuesday. In English, Tuesday comes from the old English Tiwesdaeg. Daeg is the Germanic origin of the word day. Tiw, or Tyr in Norse mythology, is a god associated with combat, or war. In French, mardi means the day of mars, the very planet associated with war in Roman mythology.
The same equivalence system applies to Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Saturday and Sunday are similar to Monday in that they are called directly after the names of the planets in English. Only Sunday, the day of the Sun, has become the day of the Lord in French and thus has become dimanche.
Are you ready to compare them all? Look!
- Monday → the day of the Moon = Lundi → le jour de la Lune (from the latin: lunae dies)
- Tuesday → the day of Tiw (god of combat associated with planet Mars) = Mardi → le jour de Mars (martis dies)
- Wednesday → the day of Woden (or Odin, associated with planet Mercury) = Mercredi → le jour de Mercure (mercurii dies)
- Thursday → the day of Thor (god of thunder, associated with planet Jupiter) = Jeudi → le jour de Jupiter (jovis dies)
- Friday → the day of Frigg (goddess of love and fertility associated with planet Venus) = Vendredi → le jour de Venus (veneris dies)
- Saturday → the day of Saturn = Samedi → le jour de Saturne (saturni dies)
- Sunday → the day of the Sun = Dimanche → le jour du Seigneur (dies dominicus)
If you speak other languages, you can find similar equivalences with the names of the planets of the names of the gods identified with those planets.
There you are! You now know the names of the 7 days of the week in French as well as their meanings and origins. Well done! 😉
Stop! Do you want to practise? Try the matching game below: click on the matching tiles to pair them up and make them disappear. You can also choose another activity by selecting a different study mode in the drop-down menu displayed in the bottom right corner. Enjoy learning and practising your vocabulary and feel free to share your results in the comments below 🙂