It’s freeday, or Frigg’s day, or FRIDAY !!!!


FRIDAY means it’s the week-end !!!!!!


We often glide away from work feeling free, seeking friends, and… shall we dare say it…



seeking LOVE !!!


The crazy thing is that, etymologically-speaking, friday actually reflects all 3 of these meanings- freedom, friendship, love.  It’s true, but don’t take my word for it.  Discover here for yourself—- to do so, we’ll have to set off on another journée in language to trace the etymology of friday back age by age, and language by language.  Today is special, though, because we’ve talked about the ancient Indo-European language family on this blog many times before, but this Friday, we’ll finally get to India :)

First, we’ll just take a quick detour to Scandanavia to better understand the origins of the Fri in Friday.  As we learned here, Wednesday comes from Woden’s day or Odin’s day (The Nordic deity).  Well, Odin, despite his divinity, felt a certain need for companionship in heaven, so he found himself a diva by the name of Frigg.



Goddess Frigg


Friday is Frigg’s day.  Frīgedaeg (friday in Old English) shows a bit more Frigg and gets us closer to the roots of the feeling behind friday as well.  In Old English the word for “free” was frēo, and a cognate (or shared root) in Old High German was Frīa, the OHG way of saying— Odin’s wife, Frigg.


Say the last three words “outloud”.       Freo    Fria    Frigg

Remarkably close sounds, right?


From Old english, Frēo becomes “fre” in middle english, and is spoken as FREE in 2012. BUT, what’s interesting is not moving forwards in time with “free”, but moving backwards. Frēo is a derivative of the root frī in Old Frisian, Old Saxon, Old High and Middle German.

Old norse frithr means ”love” or “peace”

And in Old English frithu meant “love” or “peace”

OHG fridu, peace,

In Gothic frijōn, to love

and finally in SANSKRIT !!!!


Priyás means beloved, or used as a verb, prīyate, he loves.


Say it to yourself real quick—  ”pree” “free”.

Sounds are acutally pretty close, aren’t they?

(this P-F change is actually called Grimm’s law; it represents a fundamental shift in pronunciation among germanic languages (among many other tongues) in the medieval days… more here and read “The Unfolding of Language” as suggested by Mike in the comments below for the full story!)



Wikipedia gives its own slight twist here:

“Old Norse Frigg (genitive Friggjar), Old Saxon Fri, and Old English Frig are derived from Common Germanic Frijjō.[5] Frigg is cognate with Sanskrit prīyā́ which means “wife.” The root also appears in Old Saxon fri which means “beloved lady”, in Swedish as fria (“to propose for marriage”) and in Icelandic as frjá which means “to love.”


Well… it doesn’t stop there, either.


Friend = Modern English

Frend = Middle English

Frēond = Old English

WHICH is the present participle (or gerund) of frēon… a contracted form of

frēogan, the Old Engish verb for “to love”



OK, OK, OK… hold up.  Let’s get this straight, sweet and simple.  What we’re sayin is that a nordic goddess, love, peace, friend, freedom, the freemasons, and Friday are all tied together linguistically ???

… considering the freemasons, there’s a certain feel of conspiracy in it all, isn’t there ! ? !


What’s most important to retain?

Language is a reflection of our view of the world.  All of these FRI words have a very similar feeling, and really do reflect a similar meaning.  Don’t you love your friends?  If in love, isn’t that person often also your best friend?  Don’t you feel freedom and peace when you are with these wonderful people?


MoST impOrtanLy


so re-lax   (or “lax again”)

and let go       (of what? …LOL)

and before we take leave, I’ll throw out two last plays on words:


The trick about love, in the end, is finding freedom in engagement, or being in balance with what seems like opposites… which is what “being in balance” means.

SO, I hope you all find friends, freedom, love, and peace on Friday cuz that’s what it’s meant for, and that’s what it means too!


Cheers, b




commons credit for happy chihuahua to “neitherfanboy” here
etymological inspiration for 10 years now from here


Related posts:

About Brad

--- i'm a learner-teacher, language geek, outdoorsy kind-of-guy --- U might miss the next tweet... Wanna subscribe by email ? ;-)
  • Eltbakery

    Very interesting post Brad! That’s why everyone is so desperate for Friday =]
    Enjoy your Friday and your weekend!!

  • Ann Foreman

    “finding freedom in engagement, or being in balance with what seems like opposites”. Like it!
    (But why the picture of the dog?)

  • Anna Varna

    Had never associated friends and Fridays before but of course it makes great sense! “Freedom in engagement” ? Thanks, but no thanks… :)

  • Brad Patterson

    Hey Anna! thanks for commenting.

    Tell me more. I think it depends on how you see those words, and thus interpret their meaning. For me, i meant something like “how be 100% your own person while being with someone you love— free, but together”.I hope no one thought I was promoting swingers ! LOL

  • Brad Patterson

    cuz the dog is a happy happy chihuahua… funny I typed “happy” in wikipedia commons, and it was one of the first pictures… I’ll go with that !

  • Cintia Stella

    Freedom, friendship, love.
    After reading your post and learning where this word comes from, I like Fridays more than ever!BTW, the picture of the dog reminds me of the pic I took of my dog last year. Here it goes a great weekend!

  • Hoganmike

    Nice post Brad. Very interesting, and you know I like a good play on words. Have a great Friday & weekend.

  • Brad Patterson

    Definitely… u owe me a good pun. :)

  • Brad Patterson

    Your link got “stuck” to Have, so here it is again, and a great one at that. Certain resemblance !!!

  • Marisa Pavan

    Dear Brad,

    I’ve enjoyed reading your post. “Freedom” is my favourite word and I was born in July, independence month in many countries. “Friends and love” are essential in life.
    Hugs from Argentina,

  • Anna Varna

    lol lol!!!! I never thought of swingers Brad, but now you mentioned it….hmmmm…..:)
    Seriously now, I agree 100% with your interpretation of freedom in engagement but to be honest I’m not sure how it works over the years. Maybe I’m being a bit cynical because I’m in a different stage in my relationship, I don’t know…
    In any case, we all enjoy Fridays, whether they are free days, friend days or love days. Or all three!

  • Brad Patterson

    Thanks for the “Che abrazos” !!!

    Have a great weekend, Marisa, and good luck with the new job !

  • Brad Patterson

    thanks Eduardo :) Glad you enjoyed it

  • Brad Patterson


    I agree as we discussed over twitter— love takes all forms and shapes.

    I’m aiming for all 3 this weekend :)

  • Marisa Pavan

    I love “Che abrazos”. Really effective!

  • Brad Patterson

    Effective and high quality. Love Argentina and its fun people… Sho te shevo por asha a la plasha… what a cool accent too !

  • Mike Harrison

    Hey Brad, funny coincidence (or maybe not) – I just recently read about the ‘p’ to ‘f’ shift in The Unfolding of Language by Guy Deutscher. Cool stuff =)

  • Alkab1970

    After reading meaning of FR I nobody can forget the meaning of FRIDAY.

  • Naomi Epstein

    Ah, what fun!

    The Hebrew name for Friday is so dull compared to all this – it is simply the sixth day! Only the Sabbath got a name!

  • Dalecoulter

    Freedom, friends and Friday, I wonder if Frigg worked a five-day week too?

  • Brad Patterson

    work… she was a goddess. she just sipped ambrosia, didn’t she :)

  • Brad Patterson

    Coooool. There are many typical trends. Ever read McWhorter. His book, the Power of Babel delves into language change and has TONS of super cool language geeks fun. Thanks for stopping by mike :)

  • Anonymous


    I’ll have to get working on my “Idiot’s Dictionary”, you’d love it. Wrote it a decade back while lounging in Italy. thousands of definitions of words which the reader must guess are right or wrong. Like “Friday” – from the Old English habit of the 6th day being for frying fish – to celebrate the miracle of Jesus. Right or wrong?

    Also, I’m a big fan of William Blood, a 19th century iconoclast who wrote the Poetic Alphabet and how sounds have meaning and give words meaning. Linguists don’t believe so and say all sound/meaning relationship is arbitrary save for those few onomatopoetic examples.

    Glad there is a fellow punster out there – we are a breed apart meant.


  • Brad Patterson

    a breed apart meant…. definitely :)

    The idiot’s dictionary sounds awesome, and that’s so ironic. I was going to make a joke about FRYday and frying fish, but just couldn’t find the right place to fit it in. So merci !

    William Blood, eh? Gonna have to look into it a bit more. “Sounds cool”

    thanks again for stopping by, David. Cheers, b

  • Cecilia Lemos

    Dearest Brad,

    Language IS a reflection of our view of the world… and you have a gift with language. Friday for me was free, freedom, lots of love and the best friends. Your Friday post put a smile on my face several time… keep them coming.

  • Brad Patterson

    Dearest Ceci-

    I consider you a liberated (free) friend whom I love getting to know better every single interaction. Glad you gotta smile outta my silliness.

    Only one problem… sunday is the only day left to etymologize ! :)

  • Cecilia Lemos

    Am sure we can think of something Brad… months wouldn’t take us very far… Blog names – the ones you follow – might be interesting… Name of members of your PLN… Names of places you’ve been to… I’ll keep thinking

  • Brad Patterson

    yea… i was being dramatic.

    The month idea has been brewing for a bit, and it’s easy.

    The blog names one is AWESOME !!!! Members of the PLN too.

    And stop thinking now, or else you’re gonna give me homework for the rest of my life, and my “monkey mind” just won’t let go :)

  • Brad Patterson

    Looking up doesn’t give a whole lot, but an EFL classroom where you mention him is #3. Nice werk !

  • Brad Patterson

    Howdy Dina— great to have you here.  

    TGIF… considering it’s Frigg’s day… is it TGoddessIF ?    I’d say so :)
    Yes, you had promised to provide another etymology geek with whom I could exchange interesting cognates :)  I’ll be knocking at your door for a bit of greek “refining” here soon.   

  • Sylvia Guinan

    i’ll have to read your Friday posts more often…’freedom in engagement’ is the whole point of communication, connection and being human..

  • Brad Patterson