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Late 16th century, from earlier heyda (1520s), as exclamation – compare hey, hei. Sense “period of success, vigor” from 1751, which respelt as heyday based on unrelated day (as “period of time”) – compare day in the sun.[1]


  • IPA(key): /ˈheɪdeɪ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪdeɪ


heyday (plural heydays)

  1. A period of success, popularity, or power; prime.
    The early twentieth century was the heyday of the steam locomotive.
  2. (archaic) An exultation of the spirits; gaiety; frolic.


Related terms[edit]




  1. A lively greeting.
    • 1798, Jane Austen - Northanger Abbey:
      "Heyday, Miss Morland!" said he. "What is the meaning of this? I thought you and I were to dance together."
  2. (obsolete) An expression of frolic and exultation, and sometimes of wonder.
    • 1600, Ben Jonson - Cynthia's Revels :
      "Come follow me, my wags, and say, as I say. There's no riches but in rags; hey day, hey day, &c."
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, volume (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: A[ndrew] Millar [], OCLC 928184292:
      Here Jones, having ordered a servant to show a room above stairs, was ascending, when the dishevelled fair, hastily following, was laid hold on by the master of the house, who cried, “Heyday, where is that beggar wench going? Stay below stairs, I desire you.”



  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2021), “heyday”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.