Journée = Journey

As journey is one of my favorite etymologies, it has thus earned a spot in the title of my blog, A journée in language.  Here’s a Wordle representation of the many cognates for Journey in English- words with a shared etymological origin.

Interesting that a journey, diary, deity and divination share roots etymologically


Let’s turn the clock back 4500 years ago and take a look at the Indo-European root, Dyeu which at that time meant “sky” or “day”.  Putting ourselves in the shoes of the folk of the time period, the sky and the heavens above were the “domain of a greater power”. So, the word for sky was tangled beautifully with another meaning, and a Romance language geek might even see the similarity at first glance, as Dyeu is already very close to dieu, dios, dio… and of course many other words for God.

Diana, Moon Goddess

And GODDESS as well!!!!

Diana, the Roman Goddess, a mythological diva.

( Aside—> Divadivine = (in Old French) devinité = (modern french) deviner (to guess) = divination )

There are other well-known deities hiding in Dyeu as well —

Zeus, otherwise known as Dyaus

“Father of the Sky”  = Zeus Pater… or Jupiter.

even tuesday…. Yes, tuesday… and here’s a hint how that could be:

a planet close by…


…where there are Martians…

In other romance langauges tuesday is mardi, martes, martedì, of course coming from Mars, the deity of war.  In English it’s not quite as obvious at first, but Tuesday does actually come from Dyeu.  You just have to walk back in time 5 centuries before Shakespeare, where you’ll find the Old English version, Tīwesdaeg, then turn left @ Norse, where Tiwes becomes Tīw, and finally @ Old High Germanic Zīo which is finally closer to Zeus, or Dyeu.

Now, moving back towards journée/journey, in Latin, deus’s cognate, diēs means “daylight, day, duration of sunlight”, which is very close to the original meaning of “sky”.

With another quick Latin hop we actually get much closer to English with diārium, which means ration for a day, or a daily record, diary. Then another hop backwards we find the cognate diurnāta, a day’s work or travel,  which (switch the d & g) isn’t far from the italian giornata, which isn’t far from journée in French, which then gets us to JOURNEY in English.

Personally, when I think of journée/journey, I romantically imagine way back when, o’er the years when a journey was how far a horse could ride while the sun was up.

Mommie and baby horsie



Am I the only one who thinks etymology is SOOOO cool?  :)



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

    :-) nope, there are one or two others of us out there :-) welcome to the ‘sphere, Brad!

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  • Stephen Pryke

    I just looked up Tīw on Wikipedia & Dewsbury (a town near where I’m from) is Tiw’s Burg. Interesting what you can find out. It was part of Danelaw, so I suppose it makes sense.

  • Brad Patterson

    very cool… and the story goes on. I’m blown away most of all by the fact that Zeus and dieu are the same word and that they mean “sky”… hence zeus pater… jupiter.

    Now heading off to brush up on Tiw Burg! Thanks for adding to the wealth. :)

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