Definition of day in English:

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Pronunciation: /dā/


1A period of twenty-four hours as a unit of time, reckoned from one midnight to the next, corresponding to a rotation of the earth on its axis.
Example sentences
  • There ought to be twenty-nine days in every month, not just leap year Februaries.
  • The years, months, days, hours drift by, and you can hear it getting louder.
  • She had been back for a total of two months and five days and already she was a target.
a twenty-four-hour period, twenty-four hours
1.1The part of a day when it is light; the time between sunrise and sunset: she sleeps all day and goes out at night the animals hunt by day
More example sentences
  • By day we chase the enemy back four trenches; by night they send us down to the sea.
  • By day I was glued to my walkman, walking round in a daze listening to the show.
  • By day, it's a video gallery, with tall white walls, a huge dome and a giant blue ball.
daytime, daylight;
waking hours
1.2The part of a day spent working: he works an eight-hour day
More example sentences
  • After a hard day at the office they couldn't possibly be expected to cook for themselves, could they?
  • Working eight-hour days, it has been hard for the cast to stay focused and nerves do occasionally fray.
  • A night out was just the tonic I needed after three whole days of hard work.
1.3 Astronomy A single rotation of a planet in relation to its primary.
Example sentences
  • Why do we not get a total eclipse once every 28 days i.e. once every lunar orbit?
1.4 Astronomy The period on a planet when its primary star is above the horizon.
1.5 archaic Daylight: by the time they had all gone it was broad day
More example sentences
  • Hayes breathed out in reverence as he watched the day spreading across the planet.
2 (usually days) A particular period of the past; an era: the laws were very strict in those days
More example sentences
  • People dressed up in period costume to re-enact days gone by.
  • Horses should not be just something from days gone by, but part of the future.
  • There are the usual family shots, newspaper clippings, and other photos of days gone by.
period, time, age, era, generation
2.1 (the day) The present time: the political issues of the day
More example sentences
  • The festival provides an opportunity for people to connect with important science of the day.
  • They feature a wide diversity of opinion concerning the war and other social and political issues of the day.
  • These are large meetings convened by the Council to focus on some strategic concerns of the day.
2.2 [with adjective] A day associated with a particular event or purpose: graduation day Christmas Day
More example sentences
  • It's important to remember the events of that terrible day, otherwise we run the risk of forgetting.
  • It also vindicated her version of events on that tragic day in the Outback.
  • He recounts the events of that day as though he were still a policeman dictating a confession.
2.3A day’s endeavor, or the period of an endeavor, especially as bringing success: speed and surprise would win the day
More example sentences
  • Overall, it was an stunning day of successes and a memorable way to bring the season to a close.
  • A special word of thanks is sent to all our volunteers who made this day a major success.
  • They were not to know that Friday would bring another day of dramatic action.
2.4 [usually with modifier] (days) A particular period in a person’s life or career: my student days
More example sentences
  • The supposed twilight days of his career provided him with countless afternoons in the sun.
  • It was really fun hearing about his acting days at grammar school, and hearing about teachers.
  • Staging of dramas during his school and college days helped him in facing the camera.
2.5 (one's day) The successful, fortunate, or influential period of a person’s life or career: he had been a matinée idol in his day
More example sentences
  • Although he has since been mostly forgotten, South was a very prominent astronomer in his day.
  • I’ve done a lot of different workouts in my day.
heyday, prime, time;
peak, height, zenith, ascendancy;
youth, springtime, salad days
2.6 (one's days) The span of someone’s life: she cared for him for the rest of his days
More example sentences
  • So she is living with us now and we will keep her for the rest of her days.
  • We had a meal I'll remember until the end of my days.



all in a (or the) day's work

(Of something unusual or difficult) accepted as part of someone’s normal routine or as a matter of course: dodging sharks is all in a day’s work for these scientists
More example sentences
  • Helping a neighbour with their shopping, taking the dog for a walk or doing a spot of gardening is all in a day's work for these loyal volunteers.
  • For this professional photographer, being surrounded by beautiful babes in expensive frocks is all in a day's work.
  • For him and his business partner, environmental disasters are all in a day's work.

any day

informal At any time or under any circumstances (used to express a strong opinion or preference): I’d rather live in a shack in the woods than a penthouse in the city, any day you can take me dancing any day of the week
More example sentences
  • Me, I'd prefer to walk the streets of New York - any day of the week.
  • Give me a decent book over the TV any day of the week.
  • I would still take the heat and humidity over the cold any day of the week.
2.1Very soon: she’s expected to give birth any day
More example sentences
  • Expect to see inquiries in Denmark, Poland and Spain any day soon.
  • The ticket for Bob should be arriving any day soon.
  • In fact, I think they will agree that any day will be too soon.

at the end of the day

see end.

by the day

Gradually and steadily: the campaign is growing by the day
More example sentences
  • The parliament is gradually getting its act together and is growing in confidence by the day.
  • She's in seventh grade now, growing taller by the day and living life in the moment.
  • There's not enough firewood and Uncle Boris grows weaker by the day.

call it a day

End a period of activity, especially resting content that enough has been done: we were prepared to do another long march before calling it a day
More example sentences
  • It's not a fun job, scanning negatives, and I decided to call it a day when I'd finished the first film.
  • We were late arrivals and calling it a day, we decided just after midnight to put our heads down for the night.
  • The group called it a day after Charlie Simpson decided to leave.

day after day

On each successive day, especially over a long period: the rain poured down day after day
More example sentences
  • In the first three or four years, ballet means repeating several basic skills day after day.
  • This continued day after day, till late at night when Kano was at the point of exhaustion.
  • It's getting worse day after day, and no one has been able to put an end to it.
repeatedly, again and again, over and over (again), time and (time) again, frequently, often, time after time;
night and day, all the time;
persistently, recurrently, constantly, continuously, continually, relentlessly, regularly, habitually, unfailingly, always, oftentimes
informal 24-7
literary oft, ofttimes

day and night

All the time: they kept working, day and night
More example sentences
  • Robin laughs non-stop day and night, pausing only for meals and medication breaks.
  • Like the miners, I was busy day and night, trying to get a church erected and furnished.
  • Organisers had a word of praise for the artists engaged day and night in the preparation of the idols.

day by day

Gradually and steadily: day by day I grew worse
More example sentences
  • The pressure for a full public inquiry is now growing day by day.
  • It had slowly dwindled day by day as the news of his accident became old hat.
  • When I was born I was very small, but I grew day by day and became a plump, chubby child.
gradually, slowly, progressively;
bit by bit, inch by inch, little by little

day in, day out

Continuously or repeatedly over a long period of time.
Example sentences
  • Whatever way you look at it, the sad fact remains that carnage continues on our roads day in, day out.
  • For 42 million people it's there day in, day out - a constant reminder of mortality.
  • Have the police been there steadily, day in, day out?
repeatedly, again and again, over and over (again), time and (time) again, frequently, often, time after time;
night and day, all the time;
persistently, recurrently, constantly, continuously, continually, relentlessly, regularly, habitually, unfailingly, always, oftentimes
informal 24-7
literary oft, ofttimes

day of reckoning

The time when past mistakes or misdeeds must be punished or paid for; a testing time when the degree of one’s success or failure will be revealed.
With allusion to Judgment Day, on which (in some beliefs) the judgment of humankind is expected to take place
Example sentences
  • Sunday was a day of reckoning, when the harshness of this past winter's riding made itself known.
  • The worry is whether, given the huge imbalances in their economy, they may be postponing the day of reckoning.
  • The statute of limitations on war crimes does not run out, and the day of reckoning will come.
judgment day, day of retribution, doomsday, D-Day

from day one

From the very beginning: children need a firm hand from day one
More example sentences
  • He'd had Finnegan in his class since the very beginning, and from day one, he knew she was going to be a tough one.
  • The film's makers were on the defensive from day one.
  • That is the quandary we have been in from day one.

have had one's (or its) day

Be no longer popular, successful, or influential: power dressing has had its day
More example sentences
  • I think the fact that it's mostly men making the mistake shows that those old stereotypes have had their day.
  • No, Hannibal, Face, Murdoch and BA have had their day, glorious as it was, and we should remember them as they were.
  • One lesson she had learned from Cannes was that big action movies and special effects seemed to have had their day.

if someone is a day

At least (added to a statement about a person’s age): he must be seventy if he’s a day
More example sentences
  • She is 80 if she is a day, but what she lacks in manoeuvrability she makes up for in enthusiasm.
  • Isabella is 70 if she is a day, stands about 4 foot 5 and is almost as broad as she is tall.
  • He is fifty years old if he is a day; his hair is all gone in front, and he has the complexion of a lobster.

in this day and age

At the present time; in the modern era: it simplifies housekeeping, which is essential in this day and age
More example sentences
  • It's ridiculous that in this day and age, the manure is allowed to drop onto the roadway and remain there.
  • But in this day and age, the very idea of any woman having to wait to be asked is intriguing to say the least.
  • Imagine, in this day and age, not being able to turn your pack of biscuits around and find out what's in them.

not someone's day

Used to convey that someone has had a bad day.
Example sentences
  • The A's were the better team and should have won but it was not their day.
  • Balla gave it their all but it was just not their day.
  • With a yellow card against him already for upending an opponent in the first period this was certainly not his day.

—— of the day

A thing currently considered to be particularly interesting or important: the big news story of the day
More example sentences
  • Mainly they attempt to tell some sort of parable on one of the news stories of the day.
  • One option was for me to put up a short, placeholder post on every major topic of the day.
  • It was the question of the day on several cable networks and the subject of the day for talk and news shows around the world.

one day

At a particular but unspecified time in the past: one day a boy started teasing Grady
More example sentences
  • Because one of these days, the Democrats are going to be in the majority.
  • I mentioned earlier you might wind up on the U.S. Supreme Court one of these days.
  • And Jane, I really do hope you plan to do a story on female scientists one of these days.
(also one of these days) 17.1 At a particular but unspecified time in the future: he would one day be a great president

one of those days

A day when several things go wrong.
Example sentences
  • I am having one of those days today and here you can see the results.
  • Ever have one of those days where you're really glad that it's over and it's Friday?
  • It's been one of those days - rubbish weather and a lousy ride into work.

that will (or that'll) be the day

informal That will never happen.
Example sentences
  • Hope you're all behaving. (Yeah that'll be the day!!)
  • How about something more original, like spending limits based on inflation and population growth? Yeah, that'll be the day.

these days

At present: he is drinking far too much these days
More example sentences
  • His legs may be a bit weary these days, but his presence is everything to his young charges.
  • This just sums up everything about the state of the royal family these days, I think.
  • Just because we have a few women in power it does not mean women have it made these days.

those were the days

Used to assert that a particular past time was better than the present.
Example sentences
  • And those were the days when you could still get generous grants for poor families.
  • Oh, those were the days… We'll always have the memories.
  • Ah, those were the days… when a young, nubile female could hitchhike safely in this country…

to the day

Exactly: it’s four years to the day since we won the lottery
More example sentences
  • It is four weeks to the day since Amanda disappeared and Surrey Police have still uncovered no major leads.
  • A couple have married four years to the day after meeting in an Internet chat room.
  • Forty years later, almost to the day, the BBC has effectively axed the programme.

to this day

Up to the present time; still: the tradition continues to this day
More example sentences
  • But the troubles in Northern Ireland added renewed impetus which continues to this day.
  • The war might have ended last May, but hostilities continue to this day.
  • Trusty aides always claimed ignorance, and, as far as I'm aware, continue to do so to this day.


Old English dæg, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch dag and German Tag.

  • The ancient word day has a Germanic root which may have meant ‘to burn’, through association with the heat of summer. The working day came with increasing industrialization, in the early 19th century. This is the day you refer to if you call it a day, ‘decide to stop doing something’. In the mid 19th century, when working people had fewer holidays, the expression was to call it half a day. If something unusual is all in a day's work, it is taken in your stride, as part of your normal routine. Jonathan Swift's Polite Conversations, which mocked the clichés of 18th-century society, suggest that the phrase was in circulation even then. Daylight dawned in the early Middle Ages (LME dawn itself is closely related to ‘day’). It was always associated with seeing, and in the mid 18th century daylights appeared as a term for the eyes. This is not the meaning in to beat the living daylights out of someone, where ‘daylights’ are the vital organs, such as the heart, lungs, and liver ( see light). The word ‘living’ is a later addition to the phrase, from the late 19th century. Days of wine and roses are times of pleasure, which will inevitably pass. The phrase comes from a line in a poem by the 19th-century poet Ernest Dowson: ‘They are not long, the days of wine and roses’.

Words that rhyme with day

affray, agley, aka, allay, Angers, A-OK, appellation contrôlée, array, assay, astray, au fait, auto-da-fé, away, aweigh, aye, bay, belay, betray, bey, Bombay, Bordet, boulevardier, bouquet, brae, bray, café au lait, Carné, cassoulet, Cathay, chassé, chevet, chez, chiné, clay, convey, Cray, crème brûlée, crudités, cuvée, cy-pres, decay, deejay, dégagé, distinguée, downplay, dray, Dufay, Dushanbe, eh, embay, engagé, essay, everyday, faraway, fay, fey, flay, fray, Frey, fromage frais, gainsay, Gaye, Genet, giclee, gilet, glissé, gray, grey, halfway, hay, heigh, hey, hooray, Hubei, Hué, hurray, inveigh, jay, jeunesse dorée, José, Kay, Kaye, Klee, Kray, Lae, lay, lei, Littré, Lough Neagh, lwei, Mae, maguey, Malay, Mallarmé, Mandalay, Marseilles, may, midday, midway, mislay, misplay, Monterrey, Na-Dene, nay, né, née, neigh, Ney, noway, obey, O'Dea, okay, olé, outlay, outplay, outstay, outweigh, oyez, part-way, pay, Pei, per se, pince-nez, play, portray, pray, prey, purvey, qua, Quai d'Orsay, Rae, rangé, ray, re, reflet, relevé, roman-à-clef, Santa Fé, say, sei, Shar Pei, shay, slay, sleigh, sley, spae, spay, Spey, splay, spray, stay, straightaway, straightway, strathspey, stray, Sui, survey, sway, Taipei, Tay, they, today, tokay, Torbay, Tournai, trait, tray, trey, two-way, ukiyo-e, underlay, way, waylay, Wei, weigh, wey, Whangarei, whey, yea

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: day

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