What is Wednesday Called Hump Day?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Leaving work on "hump day" can provide a sense of relief.
Leaving work on "hump day" can provide a sense of relief.

Referring to Wednesday as "hump day” is a fairly modern tradition in American English. The term represents the idea that a week can be visualized as a mound or hill that a person climbs, with Wednesday typically being the middle or peak of the week. There is some disagreement over which day of the week should be the "hump," since it varies depending on when a person works and how a week begins. There are other sources for negative associations with Wednesdays, and few holidays are regularly celebrated on this day.

The Image of a Hump

"Hump day" refers to the idea that a week, especially a work week, is like a hill. Monday and Tuesday are days when a person "climbs" up, since they are the beginning or start of a traditional work week. At the end of Wednesday, the worker has reached the pinnacle of the week, and work on Thursday and Friday represents climbing back down toward the weekend.

This image refers specifically to that middle of the week, where a worker reaches the crest of the uphill journey and begins to pace downward toward the end of the week. Someone with a tedious job or who works especially hard can find it comforting to reach "hump day." At that point, the weekend does not seem so far off as when he or she started work on Monday.

Disagreement Over Wednesday

There is some dispute about whether Wednesday is truly "hump day." When the expression emerged, many people worked a six-day week, and had only Sunday as a day of rest. Some people suggest that in this context, Thursday would have actually been the "hump day."

Looking at the course of a seven-day week that starts on Monday, Thursday is the fourth day of the week and in the direct middle. Yet, many people count the beginning of the week as Sunday, and that makes Wednesday the true middle, regardless of the use of “hump day” in reference to working. For people working a schedule other than Monday through Friday, there may be a different middle day that is appropriate for them.

Negative Associations with Wednesday

Though many may view hump day as a very positive thing, Wednesday has had a bad reputation at times. An old rhyme that describes children born on each day portrays children born on Wednesday as “full of woe.” Wednesday may be thought of as gray days, unhappy days, or unlucky days according to folk literature. Nevertheless, for many working people, the arrival of hump day is cause for cheering, and whether that day is windy or gray, it still means that the weekend is close at hand.

What Is Hump Day?

Hump day is an idiom mostly used in North America. An idiom is a word, phrase or group of words that has a meaning that doesn't obviously match the literal definition of the word or words. When used as an idiom, hump day refers to the middle day of the week, usually accepted to be Wednesday. The term first came into popular usage in the 1960s and probably has its origin in business offices.

What Does Hump Day Mean?

Hump day refers to the part of the workweek that you have to get past to get to the weekend. For most people in North America, this day is Wednesday. It means that once you have gotten through hump day, you have gotten through the most difficult part of the week and are on the downhill slope to the end of the workweek.

Why Is Wednesday Called Hump Day?

Wednesday is called hump day because it is the middle day of the traditional Monday through Friday workweek. If you visualize the workweek as a hill with Monday being the base of the upslope and Wednesday being the top of the hill, once you get past Wednesday you are on the downslope side of the hill.

What Are the Origins of Hump Day?

Like many idioms, no one is exactly sure what the true origin of the phrase is. It is rumored that it began in 1965 when Roy Mann said the phrase while talking to coworkers at a Dupont plant water cooler. The phrase also made an appearance in the 1975, JJ Cale song, "Friday." The song refers to Wednesday as hump day several times and talks about getting over the hump and the week being half-gone.

What Does Happy Hump Day Mean?

Happy hump day is an expression used by many people who work a Monday through Friday workweek to celebrate reaching the midpoint of the week. It may also be used as a substitute for saying "Happy Wednesday!"

What Is the Geico Hump Day Commercial?

One of the most famous recent examples of using the phrase hump day in popular culture is the 2013 Geico ad featuring a talking camel. In this now iconic ad, a camel walks through an office gloating about it being hump day. The commercial closes with a pair of musicians telling a joke about Geico customers being happier than a camel on Wednesday.

The camel was played by a real-life camel named Caleb and voiced by actor Chris Sullivan. The ad has gone on to be one of the most popular Geico ads with television viewers. It also has millions of views on YouTube and has been featured in countless memes.

Is There a Movie About Hump Day?

A movie titled "Humpday" was released in 2009; however, this comedy-drama isn't about the day of the week. The movie revolves around two male friends who agree to star in a gay pornographic film on a dare for the HUMP! film festival. The film won a "Special Jury Prize for Spirit of Independence" at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and won "Best Actor" and "Best Director" awards at the 2009 Gijón International Film Festival.

What Are Some Other Interesting Facts About Hump Day?

Wednesday is said to be named for the German God Woden. Woden is the most important God in the German Pantheon and is also linked to the Norse God Odin. The origins of the name come from the Old English word Wōdnesdæg and the Middle English word Wednesdei. The name means "day of Woden."

In some Slavic languages, Wednesday means "the middle." The "Addams Family" character Wednesday got her name as a reference to "Monday's Child," which contains the saying "Wednesday's child is full of woe." The Japanese word for Wednesday is sui youbi, which means "water day." The name is a reference to the planet Mercury which is the "water star."

Green is the color of Wednesday in the Thai Solar Calendar. Survey results suggest that bosses are most likely to approve their employees' requests on a Wednesday. "Holy Wednesday" is the Wednesday before Easter. Some people call this day "Spy Wednesday," referring to the story of Judas Iscariot's betrayal of Jesus.

Ash Wednesday is a Christian holy day observed about two weeks before Easter. It marks the beginning of Lent. The 19th century is the only century to start on a Wednesday. The English football club, Sheffield Wednesday, is the only sports team to have a day of the week in its name.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent LanguageHumanities contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent LanguageHumanities contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

anon1005054

Not "Western" culture, US culture. No one outside the US uses the term.

anon322711

@shell4life What do you do that you need to have little celebrations to get through the work week?

bluedolphin

@anon32731-- What do you mean?

Hump day is just Wednesday, so you do what you usually do on that day which is work.

Some people think that there is a national hump day but there isn't. Technically, every Wednesday is hump day.

But I don't it's a woeful day at all. Yes, there is still two days until the weekend, but there are always happy hours on Wednesdays and Thursdays!

discographer

The fact that there is even a hump day is proof of how much we hate working!

SteamLouis

Wednesday as hump day is certainly a cultural concept. I don't think it has a basis aside from modern Western culture.

The days of work and rest are different in every society. For example, in Islam, Friday is a day of rest. So that would make Monday "hump day."

It completely depends on which culture we're talking about.

wavy58

I remember being so happy when hump day rolled around back when I was in school. I really disliked being there, and Wednesday was a day of hope for me that I might actually make it to the weekend.

Even though I generally had more homework on Wednesdays than on any other day, I just loved knowing that I was working toward something. Our school never gave out homework over the weekend, so Wednesday's homework would be some of the last I would have to do for the week.

shell4life

@orangey03 – You are one of the few people who actually enjoy their work. The majority of us just want the freedom to do what we love, and generally, we can only do that on the weekends. So, hump day is a time of celebration for us.

My coworkers and I do little things to help each other get through the week. We stay very busy doing mundane work, so it helps to have things like a little hump day celebration to look forward to.

Someone brings either donuts or cupcakes every Wednesday morning to work. We take turns being in charge of this, and we all enjoy it. It helps us get through the week easier.

orangey03

It's sad to me that people hate their jobs so much that they rate their work days by how close they are to the weekend. I hear so many hump day comments from friends on Wednesday, and they seem so relieved that they have made it halfway through the day.

I am fortunate enough to actually enjoy what I do, and I look forward to every day. I make the most out of all my time, and I don't prefer one day of the week over another.

seag47

I have heard many radio DJ's wishing people “happy hump day” on Wednesday mornings. As far as I know, everyone around here thinks of it as a joyous day.

cafe41

Anon32731- It depends on who you ask. Most people work on Wednesday and children attend school on that day as well. It is a typically mundane day except for Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday is the start of lent which usually lands on the third Wednesday in February and ends in Easter. On this day Catholics go to church and receive a ashes on their foreheads in the form of a cross.

This is the only holiday that lands on a Wednesday, but it is a prominent holiday among Catholics. While Wednesday is not a popular day, on this occasion it happens to be.

anon32731

What do you do on hump day?

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    • Leaving work on "hump day" can provide a sense of relief.
      By: Robert Kneschke
      Leaving work on "hump day" can provide a sense of relief.