What is hump day? Meaning of Wednesday nickname, where it comes from, and how to say ‘happy hump day’

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Lots of memes and GIFs relating to the midweek phrase have been shared on social media

Many people, particularly workers, have heard the phrase hump day, and may have even told others “happy hump day”. It’s an idiom that has been the subject of many memes and GIFs that have been shared across social media.

An idiom is a phrase or expression that presents a figurative, non-literal meaning attached to the phrase. But, what exactly does hump day mean, why is it on a Wednesday, and where did the phrase come from? Here’s everything you need to know.

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Why is Wednesday called hump day?

The expression is an idiom which refers to Wednesday being the middle of the typical working week. For most people, the working week is five days between Monday and Friday. Therefore Wednesday, which is the third day of the week, is in the middle of the week with two days at either side.

The phrase represents the idea that a week can be visualised as a hill that a person climbs, with Wednesday typically being the middle or peak of the week. The implication behind the phrase is that after Wednesday people can come down the other side of the hill and head towards the weekend with excitement. If people have a different working pattern outside of the typical Monday to Friday then they may refer to another day other than Wednesday as hump day.

This is the meaning of the phrase hump day.This is the meaning of the phrase hump day.
This is the meaning of the phrase hump day. | Adobe Photos

Where did the term hump day come from?

Hump day is thought to have started in America, and then made its way over to the UK. Like many idioms, no one is exactly sure what the true origin of the phrase is.

When was the term hump day first used?

It is rumoured that the phrase first started being used in the 1950s or 1960s. It was used in a 1975 song called Friday by American artist JJ Cale. The song refers to Wednesday as hump day several times and talks about getting over the hump and the week being half gone.

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How is the term hump day used?

Hump day is often used in a friendly and positive way. Co-workers often wish each other a “happy hump day” every Wednesday in a light-hearted acknowledgement that they are half way through the working week.

It is particularly used when someone is having a tough time in the context of climbing a proverbial hill to get through the week. People are often glad it’s hump day because they feel after hump day it is metaphorically downhill to the weekend, which means it will come quickly and easily and they can start looking forward to it.

Is hump day always on a Wednesday?

When the expression emerged, many people worked a six-day week, and had only Sunday as a day of rest. At this time, Thursday would have actually been the hump day.

Some people also believe that Thursday is the middle of the full seven-day week that starts on Monday and ends on a Sunday, and so regardless of a person’s working schedule Thursday is the true hump of the week - with three days of either side. There are people, however, who count the beginning of the week as Sunday, and so for them that makes Wednesday the middle of the full week, again regardless of work.

What are some of the best hump day memes?

These are some of the best hump day memes.

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How can I learn about more idioms?

You can learn about more idioms on our dedicated words and meanings page. We have a whole host of articles on different themes, including:

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