Word of the Day

long weekend

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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


a weekend when you have one or two extra days free in addition to the usual Saturday and Sunday

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The compound noun long weekend is, of course, a combination of the adjective ‘long’ and the noun ‘weekend’. It was first recorded at the end of the 19th century.


Devotees of the TV series ‘Downton Abbey’ will no doubt recall Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, asking with a completely straight face ‘What is a weekend?’, a televisual moment so perfect it immediately became a meme. Goodness knows what Lady Violet would have made of the concept of a long weekend, a weekend that is extended by the addition of one or two days at either end. This coming weekend is just such a weekend in the UK, with Friday 8th May being a national holiday to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War 2 in Europe. A long weekend can consist of 3 or 4 days, and the additional day(s) can be either the Friday before or the Monday after, or both. The expression ‘a wet weekend‘ can be used to refer to a dull or disappointing person or experience, while a weekender is either someone who stays at a place only at weekends or someone who is staying a place for a weekend. The term ‘weekend’ was first used at the end of the 18th century, so Lady Violet had absolutely no excuse for her ignorance (which was, of course, intended for humorous effect).


“Shoppers flocked to B&Q this morning to prepare for a long weekend of lockdown DIY.”

“Lockdown tedium: Huge rise in traffic over long weekend as complacency grows.”

Related words

midweek, weekday, weekend, weeknight

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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