The orthography of the word Wednesday has befuddled generations of English speakers. While many know that it was named after Odin, the Norse king god with specialties in war and wisdom, they still don't understand how that connects to the actual word. Turns out that an archaic way of writing the name Odin was Woden, and Wednesday is a corruption of Woden's Day (although it was spelled wodnesdæg in Old English and before). In these Germanic variants, Woden was actually sort of a combo god of Odin and Mercury, some weird pagan hybrid. Read up on it for more information; I'm not too sure about specifics. Wodnesdæg comes from the Porto-Germanic reconstruction Wodanas dagaz, a calque of Latin dies Mercurii, a holiday celebrating the messenger god. Wodanaz meant "raging" and comes from Proto-Indo-European weht, denoting "excitement". Dagaz, meanwhile, comes from PIE deg, meaning "burn".
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.