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Why Do We Call Wednesday "Hump Day"?

Leaving work on "hump day" can provide a sense of relief.
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  • Originally Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Revised By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 06 August 2014
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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.

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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.

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Discuss this Article

anon322711
Post 11

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

bluedolphin
Post 10

@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
Post 9

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

SteamLouis
Post 8

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
Post 7

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
Post 6

@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
Post 5

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
Post 4

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
Post 2

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
Post 1

What do you do on hump day?

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