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What's your leisure?

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Topic: 6) What's your leisure? (1 of 13), Read 64 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Wednesday, May 19, 1999 09:12 AM

Glenn Kersten, of Matteson, Ill., writes: "I seek a word that refers to time off, whenever it falls in the week, to be used the way Monday-to-Friday types use the word 'weekend.' For those of us who work Saturdays, this situation comes up fairly frequently: 'Gadzooks but it's been a long day. I'll see you on Monday -- have a good [rest of the weekend].'"

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Topic: 6) What's your leisure? (2 of 13), Read 64 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Wednesday, May 19, 1999 10:09 AM

In the part of the world I live in, people typically call that a holiday, whether it falls on a "weekend" or not. People don't use the term "weekend" as much. In fact, I'd have to guess that more people in the world regularly use the term "holiday" than "weekend". When you add to that, the words in languages other than English (t.ex. helgen in Swedish) that mean "holiday" ("weekend" is veckoslut and not so often used), I think the percentage of those who use the word "weekend" regularly (USers and maybe half of Canada (unconfirmed)) must be in the minority.



holiday


2 :a. a day on which one is exempt from work;
b. specifically : a day marked by a general suspension of work in commemoration of an event

3 chiefly British : a period of relaxation : VACATION -- often used in the phrase on holiday; often used in plural

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Topic: 6) What's your leisure? (3 of 13), Read 45 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Rus Bowden (lowelldude@aol.com)
Date: Thursday, May 20, 1999 06:29 PM

I work every Saturday and Sunday, unless there is a "holiday" like Easter or Mother's Day. What we say to each other is, "Have a good day off," or "Have a good three days off."

But I found this in "The Catholic Encyclopedia" at
http://www.knight.org/advent/cathen/06043a.htm. If you look at the former and present uses, plus the Latin, it looks like the right choice for a single word for a day off that doesn't fall on a weekend.


Feria
(Lat. for "free day").

A day on which the people, especially the slaves, were not obliged to work, and on which there were no court sessions. In ancient Roman times the feriae publicae, legal holidays, were either stativae, recurring regularly (e.g. the Saturnalia), conceptivae, i.e. movable, or imperativae, i.e. appointed for special occasions. When Christianity spread, the feriae were ordered for religious rest, to celebrate the feasts instituted for worship by the Church. The faithful were obliged on those days to attend Mass in their parish church; such assemblies gradually led to mercantile enterprise, partly from necessity and partly for the sake of convenience. This custom in time introduced those market gatherings which the Germans call Messen, and the English call fairs. They were fixed on saints' days (e.g. St. Barr's fair, St. Germanus's fair, St. Wenn's fair, etc.)

Today the term feria is used to denote the days of the week with the exception of Sunday and Saturday. Various reasons are given for this terminology. The Roman Breviary, in the sixth lesson for 31 Dec., says that Pope St. Silvester ordered the continuance of the already existing custom "that the clergy, daily abstaining from earthly cares, would be free to serve God alone". Others believe that the Church simply Christianized a Jewish practice. The Jews frequently counted the days from their Sabbath, and so we find in the Gospels such expressions as una Sabbati and prima Sabbati, the first from the Sabbath. The early Christians reckoned the days after Easter in this fashion, but, since all the days of Easter week were holy days, they called Easter Monday, not the first day after Easter, but the second feria or feast day; and since every Sunday is the dies Dominica, a lesser Easter day, the custom prevailed to call each Monday a feria secunda, and so on for the rest of the week.

The ecclesiastical style of naming the week days was adopted by no nation except the Portuguese who alone use the terms Segunda Feria etc. The old use of the word feria, for feast day, is lost, except in the derivative feriatio, which is equivalent to our of obligation. Today those days are called ferial upon which no feast is celebrated. Feriae are either major or minor. The major, which must have at least a commemoration, even on the highest feasts, are the feriae of Advent and Lent, the Ember days, and the Monday of Rogation week; the others are called minor. Of the major feriae Ash Wednesday and the days of Holy Week are privileged so that their office must be taken, no matter what feast may occur.

FRANCIS MERSHMAN
Transcribed by Joseph P. Thomas


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Topic: 6) What's your leisure? (4 of 13), Read 47 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Friday, May 21, 1999 03:36 AM

Naaaah! In the Germanic persuasion, descendents of the latin Feria have come to mean to celebrate, commemorate, or honour. It even appears as part of the word for "fireworks display" in Swedish. (No relation to the word "fire" as far as I know, even though it looks like it.) It can also mean to slack off or to ease off (like when union members have a "slow down"); but that's not the same as a day off. (For some reason, I'm imagining Ferrari as the world's formost producer of station wagons and utility vehicles.) In most of the English speaking world, we use the word "holiday" for the days off. The US has been an exception.

We're really globalized now, international. That's what's happening. I think there's good reason to adapt some of the English that the majority of the English speaking world uses.

How about billions and trillions as well. Here's the way it goes in the majority of the English speaking world.

thousand
million
milliard
billion
trillion

And the last letter of the alphabet is called "zed".

A "subway" is where you walk under something. Some people, oddly enough, think that's the term for an "underground train".

Here's one. Do you think an automobile should (for short) be called an auto, or a bil? It is called a bil in some places.

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Topic: 6) What's your leisure? (5 of 13), Read 43 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Rus Bowden (lowelldude@aol.com)
Date: Friday, May 21, 1999 07:11 AM

Roger,

I work many "holidays". This brings me back to valuing my "days off". Sometimes, though, I work my "day off". What I really want is a "free day."

"Holiday" originates from "holy day" (obviously) and "feria" originates from "free day" (less obvious to me). That's why I like "feria" better, it doesn't have the intrinsic "holy" connotation that works so well on Christmas, but less well on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Plus it already has been differentiated in the past into levels. We could easily do that. We could say that Mother's Day is a primary feria and my next Tuesday free is a secondary feria.

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Topic: 6) What's your leisure? (6 of 13), Read 44 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Friday, May 21, 1999 07:28 AM

You're asking to reinvent a language that already exists. Not all words are commonly used according to their Latin roots. I know that holiday comes from holy day, but it's commonly used to indicate days off from work for any reason.

Even in American English, the word holiday is normally used to describe common days off, whether they're religious or not. For example, (has it been so long that I don't remember?), President's Day? --- well anyways. There are "holidays" that aren't religious.

In other countries -- most of the English speaking world -- the word holiday is used beyond even that to mean any designated time off. You're either out sick, in a meeting, on a break, at lunch, on a business trip, or on holiday. If you're none of those and not in the toilet, you'd better be on the job (assuming it's within regular work hours).

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Topic: 6) What's your leisure? (7 of 13), Read 45 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Rus Bowden (lowelldude@aol.com)
Date: Friday, May 21, 1999 07:46 AM

Roger,

I'm off "feria". Too many dictionaries are defining it as a work day, as when there are no feasts and festivals. When I leave for work in about a half hour, I'll have a new attitude.

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Topic: 6) What's your leisure? (8 of 13), Read 47 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Friday, May 21, 1999 08:10 AM

You mean, you're free today?

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Topic: 6) What's your leisure? (9 of 13), Read 38 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Rus Bowden (lowelldude@aol.com)
Date: Saturday, May 22, 1999 08:35 PM

Let me, ever so humbly, reiterate "day off". I found this in Dictionary.com:

day off n : a day when you are not required to work; "Thursday is his day off."




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Topic: 6) What's your leisure? (10 of 13), Read 26 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Tuesday, May 25, 1999 07:49 AM

From the opening post:

Have a good days off?

How about -- Have a good dazeoff.

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Topic: 6) What's your leisure? (11 of 13), Read 26 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Rus Bowden (lowelldude@aol.com)
Date: Tuesday, May 25, 1999 08:28 AM

Roger,

"Have a good 2 or 3 days off," until it's appropriate to say , "Have a good mini-vacation," or just, "Have a good vacation." It may sound awkward to Monday through Friday workers, but I haven't been one in over a decade, and this is what we say to each other, around here anyway.

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Topic: 6) What's your leisure? (12 of 13), Read 28 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Tuesday, May 25, 1999 08:39 AM

"Have a good 2 or 3 days off," until it's appropriate to say , "Have a good mini-vacation," or just, "Have a good vacation." It may sound awkward to Monday through Friday workers, but I haven't been one in over a decade, and this is what we say to each other, around here anyway.

Just playing the devil's advocate really; but isn't that rather obviously clumsy? It really doesn't seem to address the quest for a word for it at all, but rather substitutes a lengthy explanation for it. "Trevlig helg!" is what everybody around here says. (lit. trans: Pleasant holiday!)

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Topic: 6) What's your leisure? (13 of 13), Read 21 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Rus Bowden (lowelldude@aol.com)
Date: Wednesday, May 26, 1999 12:33 AM

Roger

You're correct, it is a bit clumsy. It works well when it's just one day off. To say, "Have a good day off" is just as easy as saying, "Have a good weekend," or, "Have a good holiday." So it's easy to see how different cultures would adapt these different ways of saying the same thing.

In practice, with the schedules I've had, one with alternating weekends on, and now working every weekend, it's difficult to get two days off in a row that are not weekends. So to say to someone, "Have a good two days off," is also to stress to the person the rare occurrence of the two days off in a row. It usually draws a smile and a happy retort. But it's not awkward.

When my kids were younger, I needed to have Tuesdays through Thursdays off each week. This is where, "Have a good holiday" would work better. If my memory serves me, I'd just hear, "See you Friday."

So give the devil his due for me. "Have a good three days off" can be awkward.


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