Meaning of DAY in English


day S1 W1 /deɪ/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ day , ↑ midday ; adverb : ↑ daily ; adjective : ↑ daily ]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: dæg ]

1 . 24 HOURS [countable] a period of 24 hours:

We spent three days in Paris.

‘What day is it today?’ ‘Friday.’

He left two days ago.

I’ll call you in a couple of days.

on a ... day

We’ll have to hold the party on a different day.

(on) that/the following/the previous day (=during a particular day)

What really happened on that day so long ago?

Over 10,000 soldiers died on that one day in January.

The following day, a letter arrived.

I saw Jane the day before yesterday.

We’re leaving for New York the day after tomorrow.

I got an email from Sue the other day (=a few days ago) .

Women generally use up about 2,000 calories a day (=each day) .

2 . NOT NIGHT [uncountable and countable] the period of time between when it gets light in the morning and when it gets dark OPP night :

She only leaves her house during the day.

It was a cold blustery day.

Kept in that dark cell, I could no longer tell whether it was day or night.

on a ... day

She first met Steve on a cold but sunny day in March.

by day (=during the day)

Owls usually sleep by day and hunt by night.

The day dawned (=started) bright and clear.

3 . WHEN YOU ARE AWAKE [countable usually singular] the time during the day when you are awake and active:

His day begins at six.

Jackie starts the day with a few gentle exercises.

Sometimes I feel I just can’t face another day.

It’s been a long day (=used when you have been awake and busy for a long time) .

all day (long) (=during the whole time you are awake)

I’ve been studying all day. I’m beat!

► Do not say ‘all the day’. Say all day .

4 . TIME AT WORK [countable] the time you spend doing your job during a 24-hour period:

I work a ten-hour day.

Rail workers are campaigning for a shorter working day.

I’ve got a day off (=a day when I do not have to go to work) tomorrow.

5 . PAST [countable] used to talk about a time in the past:

I knew him pretty well from his days as a DJ in the Bounty Club (=from when he was a DJ) .

I always used to do the cooking in the early days of our marriage.

Not much was known about the dangers of smoking in those days (=then) .

They were very much opposed to the government of the day (=that existed then) .

One day (=on a day in the past) , a mysterious stranger called at the house.

From day one (=from the beginning) , I knew I wouldn’t get on with him.

In my day (=in the past, when I was young) , kids used to have some respect for their elders.

in sb’s student/army/childhood etc days (=in the past when someone was a student etc)

I used to run six miles a day in my army days.

those were the days spoken (=used to talk about a time in the past you think was better than now)

We used to stay in bed all morning and party all night. Those were the days!

6 . NOW [countable] used to talk about the situation that exists now:

I don’t do much exercise these days (=now) .

It’s incredible that such attitudes still exist in this day and age (=used to express disapproval that something still exists now) .

To this day (=until and including now) , he denies any involvement in the crime.

up to/until/to the present day (=until and including now)

This tradition has continued right up until the present day.

7 . FUTURE [countable] used to talk about a time in the future

one day/some day (=some time in the future)

I’d like to go and visit the States one day.

Some day we might get him to see sense.

One of these days (=some time soon) I’m going to walk right out of here and never come back.

Kelly’s expecting the baby any day now (=very soon) .

The day will come (=the time will come) when he won’t be able to care for himself any more.

8 . sb’s/sth’s day a successful period of time in someone’s life or in something’s existence:

My uncle was a famous radio personality in his day (=at the time he was most successful) .

Don’t be too disappointed you didn’t win – your day will come (=you will be successful in the future) .

Game shows like that have had their day (=were successful in the past, but are not any more) .

9 . Independence/election/Christmas etc day a day on which a particular event or celebration takes place:

Rioting broke out just three days before polling day.

10 . five/three/nine etc years to the day exactly five years etc:

It’s two years to the day since he died.

11 . sb’s days someone’s life:

She ended her days in poverty.

12 . sb’s/sth’s days are numbered used to say that someone or something will not exist for much longer:

It seems that the hospital’s days are numbered.

13 . day after day ( also day in day out ) continuously for a long time in a way that is annoying or boring:

I couldn’t stand sitting at a desk day after day.

14 . from day to day ( also from one day to the next ) if a situation changes from day to day or from one day to the next, it changes often:

I never know from day to day what I’m going to be doing.

His moods swung wildly from one day to the next.

⇨ ↑ day-to-day , ⇨ live from day to day at ↑ live 1 (5)

15 . day by day slowly and gradually:

Her health was improving day by day.

16 . night and day ( also day and night ) all the time SYN continuously :

Being together night and day can put a great pressure on any relationship.

17 . day out especially British English a trip you make for pleasure on a particular day:

A visit to the caves makes a fascinating and exciting day out for all the family.

18 . have an off day to be less successful or happy than usual, for no particular reason:

Even the greatest athletes have their off days.

19 . make sb’s day to make someone very happy:

Hearing her voice on the phone really made my day.

20 . soup/dish/fish etc of the day a soup, meal etc that a restaurant serves on a particular day in addition to the meals they always offer

21 . be all in a day’s work if something difficult, unpleasant, or unusual is all in a day’s work for someone, it is a normal part of their job

22 . take each day as it comes ( also take it one day at a time ) to deal with something as it happens and not worry about the future:

Since I had the accident, I’ve learned to take each day as it comes.

23 . the day of reckoning a time when you have to deal with the bad results of something you did in the past

• • •


24 . it’s (just) one of those days used to say that everything seems to be going wrong

25 . it’s not sb’s day used when several unpleasant things have happened to someone in one day:

It wasn’t Chris’s day – he overslept and then his car broke down.

26 . make a day of it British English to spend all day doing something for pleasure:

If the weather’s nice, we’ll make a day of it and take a picnic.

27 . make my day used when warning someone that if they try to do something, you will enjoy stopping, defeating, or punishing them etc. This phrase was made popular by Clint Eastwood in the film ‘Dirty Harry’.

28 . that’ll be the day used to say that you think something is very unlikely to happen:

‘Bill says he’s going to start going to the gym.’ ‘That’ll be the day!’

29 . I/we don’t have all day used to say that you want someone to do something faster because you do not have enough time to wait for them to finish:

Hurry up! I haven’t got all day!

30 . it’s not every day (that) used to say that something does not happen often and is therefore very special:

Let’s go out and celebrate. After all, it’s not every day you get a new job.

31 . back in the day a long time ago, when you were much younger

32 . be on days to work during the day at a job you sometimes have to do at night:

I’m on days this week.

33 . 40/50/60 etc if he’s/she’s a day used to emphasize that someone is at least as old as you are saying:

She’s ninety if she’s a day.

⇨ at the end of the day at ↑ end 1 (12), ⇨ call it a day at ↑ call 1 (10), ⇨ carry the day at ↑ carry 1 (22), ⇨ the early days at ↑ early 1 (1), ⇨ every dog (has) its day at ↑ dog 1 (11), ⇨ the good old days at ↑ old (8), ⇨ ↑ half day , ⇨ have a field day at ↑ field day (1), ⇨ it’s early days at ↑ early 1 (3), ⇨ it’s (a little) late in the day at ↑ late 1 (8), ⇨ it’s sb’s lucky day at ↑ lucky (5), ⇨ (live to) see the day at ↑ see 1 (23), ⇨ name the day at ↑ name 2 (6), ⇨ ↑ open day , ⇨ save the day at ↑ save 1 (12), ⇨ ↑ speech day , ↑ sports day

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)


▪ every/each day

The museum is open to visitors every day.

▪ the same day

Similar student protests took place on the same day in other towns.

▪ the next/the following day (=the day after something happened in the past)

The story was in the newspaper the following day.

▪ the previous day (=the day before something happened in the past)

I had been to the doctor the previous day.

▪ a big day (=a day when something important is arranged to take place)

Just before the big day the team was training 6 days a week.

▪ a holy day

Friday is the Muslim holy day.

▪ a historic day (=a day when an event that is historically important happens)

This was a historic day for the space program.

▪ a school day (=a day when children go to school)

It’s a school day tomorrow, so you need an early night.

▪ election/market etc day (=the day when an election, market etc takes place)

Wednesday is market day in Oxford.

▪ Christmas/Easter/Independence etc Day

What day of the week is Christmas Day this year?

▪ sb’s wedding day (=the day when someone gets married)

She wanted everything to be perfect for her wedding day.

■ phrases

▪ the day before yesterday

We arrived in France the day before yesterday.

▪ the day after tomorrow

How about meeting for lunch the day after tomorrow?

▪ the other day (=a few days ago)

Mark called the other day.

▪ 24 hours a day (=during the whole day and night)

In Cairo, the streets are busy 24 hours a day.

▪ $15/5 grams/50 etc per day (=used when saying how much someone earns or is paid each day)

They get about £45 per day.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 3)

■ adjectives

▪ a good day (=in which things have happened in the way you want)

Have you had a good day at work?

▪ a bad day (=in which things have happened in a way you do not want)

I’ve had a really bad day !

▪ a nice/lovely/happy day (=enjoyable)

We’ve had a lovely day at the beach.

▪ a beautiful/lovely/glorious day (=with very nice weather)

It was a beautiful day yesterday, wasn’t it?

▪ a hard day (=difficult and tiring)

Sit down – you look as though you’ve had a hard day.

▪ a long day

I got up at 5 this morning so it’s been a long day.

■ verbs

▪ have a good/bad/long etc day

Simon looked as if he’d had a bad day at the office.

▪ spend the day doing something

I spent the day shopping with my friends.

▪ start the day (=do something at the beginning of a day)

You should start the day with a good breakfast.

▪ end the day (=do something at the end of a day)

We ended the day at a little restaurant by the beach.

■ phrases

▪ have a nice/good day! spoken (=used when saying goodbye to someone in a friendly way)

Bye Sam! Have a good day!

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.