How To Say The Days Of The Week In Russian

In spite of the fact that I'm focusing on Italian, I wanted to take a break for a moment to talk about one of the many things I love about the Russian language. When learning the days of the week, I find it helpful to understand where the names come from. In Russian, this ended up being super-easy!

Monday - Понедельник
The Russian prefix по- indicates something incremental, and a неделя is a "week". So it's easy to recognize that on понедельник we increment the week, ie, start a new one.

Tuesday - Вторник
The word второй means "second", so вторник is the second day of the week!

Wednesday - Среда
The word среда literally means middle, and just as we call Wednesday "hump day", Russians also recognize it as the "middle" of the week.

Thursday - Четверг
The word четвертый means "fourth", so четверг is obviously the fourth day of the week.

Friday - Пятница
And the number five is пять, so пятница is "day number five".

Saturday - Суббота
The name суббота, just like the Italian word sabato, finds its roots all the way back at the Hebrew word shabbat, meaning "sabbath" or "seventh" day.

Sunday - Воскресение
And finally, the prefix вос- indicates motion upwards, and крест is "cross", so you wouldn't be laughed at for thinking воскресать meant "to crucify", but it actually means "to rise from the dead", so воскресение means "the resurrection".

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  • Randy Yearlyglot

    "Nedela" in most Slavic languages means "not work" nye obviously this would be the name for sunday, a day of rest. Therefore "po nedela" is "after the rest" which of course monday is....not sure how  you got the idea of starting week

  • Randy Yearlyglot

    Leon is right, I am afraid.

  • Randy Yearlyglot

    Thank you for doing this. I just bought a vintage Soviet-era watch, and apparently today is втр.Can't wait to see what it says tomorrow!

  • Randy Yearlyglot

    Thanks for the post! As a fellow language fiend and confirmed etymology enthusiast, I always find it a huge delight to read this kind of things.

    Just a little thing: there is a slight spelling difference in Russian between "Sunday" and the "Resurrection". The first one is "воскресенье" with a weak sign after the "н", while the other one is "воскресение", just like you wrote it, with an "и" after it.

    Keep up the great work and lots of fun and success with those languages!

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