Posted by ESC on July 04, 2001
In Reply to: Hump Day posted by Paul G on July 04, 2001
: : Does anyone know when Hump Day phrase began?
: : Around 1996 I was talking with a sales rep from a Dental company. It was Weds. I told him I call weds "Hump Day." He said,"Why is that?" Because tues is just another Monday, Thurs is so close to Friday it's just another Friday, but once the workday is done on Weds, you're over the hump. Now I'm hearing it everywhere ... especially on radio stations.
: : When I mentioned this to my brother-in-law this evening, he fairly much said I was full of crap, that the phrase "hump day" to describe Weds has been around since the 40's.
: : Can anyone shed any light on this?
: Not to say that you did not independantly come up with it, but here's a reference to hump day being used in a song lyric by J.J. Cale (song is called 'Friday'), dated 1979.
: "Wednesday's hump day, hump day's Wednesday
: Over the hump, the week's half-gone
: If I had my pay on Wednesday I'd hang out, the hump day's gone"
: Full lyrics at http://perso.magic.fr/aramis/five.htm#7
HUMP DAY -- "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, H-O" by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994, has several slang uses of the word "hump" in print going back to the 1800s. "Over the hump," meaning beyond the midpoint or most difficult part was in print in 1914: "...Jackson & Hellyer, 'Vocab. 46: Hump...the half-way point in a prison sentence."
"Hump Day" -- ".the day that is at the midpoint in a given period of work; (often) Wednesday, the middle of the work week. Similarly, Hump Night. 1955 AS (American Speech) x 226: Hump Night.Wednesday night, which is over the hump of the week. (1977 Langone 'Life at Bottom,' 202: Some of the parties in midwinter, that's when you're over the hump. Hump Night, they called it, halfway home.') .ca 1965 in DARE (Dictionary of American Regional English): Hump day was used by counselors at summer camp to mean Wednesday."
The expression may have been in use in the 1940s. Anyone got an earlier citation?