October 28, 2020
Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for September 5, 2020 is:
heyday HAY-day noun
: the period of one’s greatest popularity, vigor, or prosperity
“The theater engaged Mr. Leslie ‘Les’ Jones to build and paint the sets. He was in his early sixties when I arrived—he’d been a legendary scene painter during the heyday of vaudeville.” — Kate Bornstein, A Queer and Present Danger, 2012
“But there are few drive-in theaters left. They’ve dwindled to just a handful in the Twin Cities since their heyday in the 1950s and ’60s. There are only six left in Minnesota.” — Kathy Berdan, TwinCities.com (St. Paul, Minnesota), 26 July 2020
Did you know?
In its earliest appearances in English, in the 16th century, heyday was used as an interjection that expressed elation or wonder (similar to our word hey, from which it derives). Within a few decades, heyday was seeing use as a noun meaning “high spirits.” This sense can be seen in Act III, scene 4 of Hamlet, when the Prince of Denmark tells his mother, “You cannot call it love; for at your age / The heyday in the blood is tame….” The word’s second syllable is not thought to be borne of the modern word day (or any of its ancestors), but in the 18th century the syllable’s resemblance to that word likely influenced the development of the now-familiar use referring to the period when one’s achievement or popularity has reached its zenith.