Circa 1200, Middle English werkedei, from Old Norse virkr dagr (“working day”). Cognate to later workday; see work and day. Used in adjective sense from 16th century. Note that the surface analysis work + a + day is cognate, but not the correct etymology – a much older formation.
- 1916, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce, Macmillan Press Ltd, paperback, p. 102:
- A retreat, my dear boys, signifies a withdrawal for a while from the cares of our life, the cares of this workaday world, in order to examine the state of our conscience, to reflect on the mysteries of holy religion and to understand better why we are here in this world."