Old English dæg "day," also "lifetime," from Proto-Germanic *dagaz "day" (source also of Old Saxon, Middle Dutch, Dutch dag, Old Frisian dei, Old High German tag, German Tag, Old Norse dagr, Gothic dags), according to Watkins, from PIE root *agh- "a day." He adds that the Germanic initial d- is "of obscure origin." Not considered to be related to Latin dies (from PIE root *dyeu- "to shine").
Meaning originally, in English, "the daylight hours;" expanded to mean "the 24-hour period" in late Anglo-Saxon times. The day formerly began at sunset, hence Old English Wodnesniht was what we would call "Tuesday night." Names of the weekdays were not regularly capitalized in English until 17c. Day off first recorded 1883; day-tripper first recorded 1897. The days in nowadays, etc. is a relic of the Old English and Middle English use of the adverbial genitive.
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