When looking up the etymology of the French vendredi online, I can only find the suggestion that it comes from the Latin Veneris (Venus).

However, the English, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish and Swedish words for Friday all come from either Frigg or Freyja (which both likely originate from the same Germanic/Norse goddess), who is also referred to as Vanadis.

Considering the similarity between vendre in vendredi and Vanadis, and taking into account that many neighbouring languages derive their words for Friday from the same god, is it reasonable to suspect that the French word vendredi also comes from Freyja?

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    All other French words for weekdays come from Latin: Lunedi, Mardi, Mercredi, Jeudi, Samedi - why would the word for Friday come from a different origin? Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 19:33
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    The /d/ appearing in the French word seems to be the source of your hypothesis. It's worth noting this is the standard development resulting from /n/ and /r/ brought in contact by the loss of an intervening vowel: lat. generum -> fr. gendre; lat. cinerem -> fr. cendre; lat. minor, fr. moindre Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 12:24
  • The Luis Henrique's comment would make a good answer.
    – Quidam
    Commented Nov 12, 2019 at 0:01

2 Answers 2


Very unlikely!

While the phonetic similarities are real, the old Norse name of the weekday etymologically goes back to Frig's day, and not Freyja's day.

The actual form of the Norse word is somewhat blurred by a possible early loan from Old Saxon (or some other such west Germanic language) into the attested Norse frjádagʀ. This form is very likely from an unattested old Norse *frīadagʀ before the diphthong, indicated by *-īa- here, changed to -já-. The same change is attested and exemplified in Kíarr > Kjárr 'Caesar', and the source form of the initial *frīa- is backed up by Faroese reflex fríggjadagur, which (due to a Faroese sound change called skerping) must come from an older *-īa- sequence.

This was probably a loan from an unattested Saxon form such as *frīadag (backed up by cognates in Old High German frīatag and Old English frīġedæġ), etymologically sourced from proto-Germanic *frijjōzdagaz 'Frig's day'. The Norse form would have been reflected as *friggjudagʀ, which we cannot find anywhere.

The etymology of the word as 'Freyja's day' is untenable because the only time freyjudagʀ appears is in Old Icelandic, attested only in certain authors and later than frjádagʀ — and can probably be discarded as a poetic or stylistic innovation.

Beyond this, Vanadís as the name of Freyja is only a very ritualised poetic convention (a kenning for skaldic poetry, to be specific) and is not a spoken form. It is quite unlikely that this byname would be used to refer to Freyja when her actual name itself was much, much more commonly used.

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    Great and detailed answer! A bit hard to read though (so many clauses and parentheses), maybe it's possible to structure the answer a bit?
    – Betohaku
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 11:15
  • @Betohaku, oh yes definitely. I'll rewrite it a bit on Sunday.
    – Darkgamma
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 14:54
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    @Betohaku hopefully it's a bit more legible now.
    – Darkgamma
    Commented Feb 26, 2018 at 4:15

The etymology of vendredi is completely straightforward. It is from “Veneris dies” (the day of Venus), well attested in Roman texts as the name for one of the seven days of the “planetary” week.

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