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[dey] /deɪ/

the interval of light between two successive nights; the time between sunrise and sunset:
Since there was no artificial illumination, all activities had to be carried on during the day.
the light of day; daylight:
The owl sleeps by day and feeds by night.

an analogous division of time for a planet other than the earth:
the Martian day.
the portion of a day allotted to work:
an eight-hour day.
a day on which something occurs:
the day we met.
(often initial capital letter) a day assigned to a particular purpose or observance:
New Year’s Day.
a time considered as propitious or opportune:
His day will come.
a day of contest or the contest itself:
to win the day.
Often, days. a particular time or period:
the present day; in days of old.
Usually, days. period of life or activity:
His days are numbered.
period of existence, power, or influence:
in the day of the dinosaurs.
Architecture. 1 (def 19a).
call it a day, to stop one’s activity for the day or for the present; quit temporarily:
After rewriting the paper, she decided to call it a day.
day and night. (def 11).
day in, day out, every day without fail; regularly:
They endured the noise and dirt of the city day in, day out.
Also, day in and day out.
a day when one works only in the morning or only in the afternoon
Also called civil day. the period of time, the calendar day, of 24 hours’ duration reckoned from one midnight to the next

the part of a day occupied with regular activity, esp work: he took a day off
(sometimes pl) a period or point in time: he was a good singer in his day, in days gone by, any day now
the period of time, the sidereal day, during which the earth makes one complete revolution on its axis relative to a particular star. The mean sidereal day lasts 23 hours 56 minutes 4.1 seconds of the mean solar day
the period of time, the solar day, during which the earth makes one complete revolution on its axis relative to the sun. The mean solar day is the average length of the apparent solar day and is some four minutes (3 minutes 56.5 seconds of sidereal time) longer than the sidereal day
the period of time taken by a specified planet to make one complete rotation on its axis: the Martian day
(often capital) a day designated for a special observance, esp a holiday: Christmas Day
all in a day’s work, part of one’s normal activity; no trouble
at the end of the day, in the final reckoning
day of rest, the Sabbath; Sunday
end one’s days, to pass the end of one’s life
every dog has his day, one’s luck will come
in this day and age, nowadays
it’s early days, it’s too early to tell how things will turn out
late in the day

that will be the day

a time of success, recognition, power, etc: his day will soon come
a struggle or issue at hand: the day is lost

from day to day, without thinking of the future
call it a day, to stop work or other activity
day after day, without respite; relentlessly
day by day, gradually or progressively; daily: he weakened day by day
day in, day out, every day and all day long
from Day 1, from Day One, from the very beginning
one of these days, at some future time
(modifier) of, relating to, or occurring in the day: the day shift
Sir Robin. 1923–2000, British radio and television journalist, noted esp for his political interviews

Old English dæg “day,” also “lifetime,” from Proto-Germanic *dagaz (cf. Old Saxon, Middle Dutch, Dutch dag, Old Frisian dei, Old High German tag, German Tag, Old Norse dagr, Gothic dags), from PIE *dhegh-.

Not considered to be related to Latin dies (see diurnal), but rather to Sanskrit dah “to burn,” Lithuanian dagas “hot season,” Old Prussian dagis “summer.” Meaning originally, in English, “the daylight hours;” expanded to mean “the 24-hour period” in late Anglo-Saxon times. Day off first recorded 1883; day-tripper first recorded 1897. The days in nowadays, etc. is a relic of the Old English and Middle English use of the adverbial genitive.
See under sidereal time, solar day.

Related Terms

have a field day, make my day, ninety-day wonder, not give someone the time of day, red-letter day
James M. Cox Dayton [OH] International Airport

The Jews reckoned the day from sunset to sunset (Lev. 23:32). It was originally divided into three parts (Ps. 55:17). “The heat of the day” (1 Sam. 11:11; Neh. 7:3) was at our nine o’clock, and “the cool of the day” just before sunset (Gen. 3:8). Before the Captivity the Jews divided the night into three watches, (1) from sunset to midnight (Lam. 2:19); (2) from midnight till the cock-crowing (Judg. 7:19); and (3) from the cock-crowing till sunrise (Ex. 14:24). In the New Testament the division of the Greeks and Romans into four watches was adopted (Mark 13:35). (See WATCHES.) The division of the day by hours is first mentioned in Dan. 3:6, 15; 4:19; 5:5. This mode of reckoning was borrowed from the Chaldeans. The reckoning of twelve hours was from sunrise to sunset, and accordingly the hours were of variable length (John 11:9). The word “day” sometimes signifies an indefinite time (Gen. 2:4; Isa. 22:5; Heb. 3:8, etc.). In Job 3:1 it denotes a birthday, and in Isa. 2:12, Acts 17:31, and 2 Tim. 1:18, the great day of final judgment.


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