second day of the week, Middle English monedai, from Old English mōndæg, contraction of mōnandæg "Monday," literally "day of the moon," from mona (genitive monan; see moon (n.)) + dæg (see day). A common Germanic name (compare Old Norse manandagr, Old Frisian monendei, Dutch maandag, German Montag). All are loan-translations of Late Latin Lunæ dies, which also is the source of the day name in Romance languages (French lundi, Italian lunedi, Spanish lunes), itself a loan-translation of Greek Selēnēs hēmera. The name for this day in Slavic tongues generally means "day after Sunday."
Yf cristemas day on A munday be,
Grete wynter þat yere ye shull see.
[proverb, c. 1500]
Phrase Monday morning quarterback is attested from 1932, Monday being the first day back at work after the weekend, where school and college football games played over the weekend were discussed. Black Monday (late 14c.) is the Monday after Easter day, though how it got its reputation for bad luck is a mystery (none of the usual explanation stories holds water). Saint Monday (1753) was "used with reference to the practice among workmen of being idle Monday, as a consequence of drunkenness on the Sunday" before [OED]. Clergymen, meanwhile, when indisposed complained of feeling Mondayish (1804) in reference to effects of Sunday's labors.
It forms all or part of: amenorrhea; centimeter; commensurate; diameter; dimension; gematria; geometry; immense; isometric; meal (n.1) "food, time for eating;" measure; menarche; meniscus; menopause; menses; menstrual; menstruate; mensural; meter (n.1) "poetic measure;" meter (n.2) unit of length; meter (n.3) "device for measuring;" -meter; Metis; metric; metrical; metronome; -metry; Monday; month; moon; parameter; pentameter; perimeter; piecemeal; semester; symmetry; thermometer; trigonometry; trimester.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit mati "measures," matra "measure;" Avestan, Old Persian ma- "to measure;" Greek metron "measure," metra "lot, portion;" Latin metri "to measure."
Poor Charley wooed, but wooed in vain,
From Monday until Sunday;
Still Cupid whisper'd to the swain
"You'll conquer Betsey Someday."
[The Port Folio, June 1816]
As a verb, "to play quarterback," by 1945. The figurative sense (the quarterback when on the field typically directed the team's plays) is from 1952. Monday morning quarterback is by 1932 as a noun, "second-guesser of other people's decisions, one who criticizes or passes judgment afterward on how something was done;" by 1972 as a verb; originally pro football player slang for sportswriters (U.S. professional football games typically were played on Sundays).
"gloom, darkness," c. 1300, myrke, from Old Norse myrkr "darkness," from Proto-Germanic *merkwjo- (source also of Old English mirce "murky, black, dark;" as a noun, "murkiness, darkness," Danish mǿrk "darkness," Old Saxon mirki "dark"); perhaps cognate with Old Church Slavonic mraku, Serbo-Croatian mrak, Russian mrak "darkness;" Lithuanian merkti "shut the eyes, blink," from PIE *mer- "to flicker" (see morn). In Middle English also as an adjective (c. 1300, from Old Norse) and a verb. Sometimes spelled mirk, especially in Scotland. Mirk Monday was long the name in Scotland for the great solar eclipse of March 29, 1652 (April 8, New Style).
Middle English mirie, from Old English myrge "pleasing, agreeable, pleasant, sweet, exciting feelings of enjoyment and gladness" (said of grass, trees, the world, music, song); also as an adverb, "pleasantly, melodiously," from Proto-Germanic *murgijaz, which probably originally meant "short-lasting," (compare Old High German murg "short," Gothic gamaurgjan "to shorten"), from PIE root *mregh-u- "short." The only exact cognate for meaning outside English was Middle Dutch mergelijc "joyful."
The connection to "pleasure" likely was via the notion of "making time fly, that which makes the time seem to pass quickly" (compare German Kurzweil "pastime," literally "a short time;" Old Norse skemta "to amuse, entertain, amuse oneself," from skamt, neuter of skammr "short"). There also was a verbal form in Old English, myrgan "be merry, rejoice." For vowel evolution, see bury (v.).
Not originally applied to humorous moods or speech or conduct, yet the word had a much wider senses in Middle English than modern: "pleasant-sounding" (of animal voices), "fine" (of weather), "handsome" (of dress), "pleasant-tasting" (of herbs). The evolution of the modern senses is probably via the meaning "pleased by a certain event or situation or state of things" (c. 1200). Of persons, "cheerful by disposition or nature; playfully cheerful, enlivened with gladness or good spirits," by mid-14c.
Merry-bout "an incident of sexual intercourse" was low slang from 1780. Merry-begot "illegitimate" (adj.), also "bastard" (n.) are in Grose (1785). Merrie England (now frequently satirical or ironic) is c. 1400, meri ingland, originally in a broader sense of "bountiful, prosperous." Merry Monday was a 16c. term for "the Monday before Shrove Tuesday" (Mardi Gras).
late Old English niht (West Saxon neaht, Anglian næht, neht) "the dark part of a day; the night as a unit of time; darkness," also "absence of spiritual illumination, moral darkness, ignorance," from Proto-Germanic *nahts (source also of Old Saxon and Old High German naht, Old Frisian and Dutch nacht, German Nacht, Old Norse natt, Gothic nahts).
The Germanic words are from PIE *nekwt- "night" (source also of Greek nyx "a night," Latin nox, Old Irish nochd, Sanskrit naktam "at night," Lithuanian naktis "night," Old Church Slavonic nosti, Russian noch', Welsh henoid "tonight"), according to Watkins, probably from a verbal root *neg- "to be dark, be night." For spelling with -gh- see fight. The vowel indicates that the modern English word derives from oblique cases (genitive nihte, dative niht).
The fact that the Aryans have a common name for night, but not for day (q.v.), is due to the fact that they reckoned by nights. [Weekley]
Thus in Old English combinations night was "the night before (a certain day or feast day);" compare German Weihnachten "Christmas," literally "holy night." In early times, the day was held to begin at sunset, so Old English monanniht "Monday night" was the night before Monday, or what we would call Sunday night. The Greeks, by contrast, counted their days by mornings.
To work nights preserves the Old English genitive of time. Night soil "excrement" (1770) is so called because it was removed (from cesspools, etc.) after dark. Night train is attested from 1838; night-school from 1520s; night-life "habitual nocturnal carousing" is attested from 1852.