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hey·​day ˈhā-ˌdā How to pronounce heyday (audio)
: the period of one's greatest popularity, vigor, or prosperity
archaic : high spirits


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used to express elation or wonder

Did you know?

In its earliest appearances in English, in the 16th century, heyday was used as an interjection that expressed elation or wonder (similar to our word hey, from which it derives). Within a few decades, heyday was seeing use as a noun meaning "high spirits." This sense can be seen in Act III, scene 4 of Hamlet, when the Prince of Denmark tells his mother, "You cannot call it love; for at your age / The heyday in the blood is tame…." The word's second syllable is not thought to be borne of the modern word day (or any of its ancestors), but in the 18th century the syllable's resemblance to that word likely influenced the development of the now-familiar use referring to the period when one's achievement or popularity has reached its zenith.

Examples of heyday in a Sentence

Noun in its heyday, the circus was a major form of entertainment for small-town America
Recent Examples on the Web
In the Rose City, future Riveters who packed the stands at Pilots games in the program’s heyday had their fingers crossed as players were assigned to NWSL teams. oregonlive, 13 Sep. 2023 From their heyday as THE country music power couple of the 90s and 2000s to today, their love story continues to inspire. Maggie Horton, Country Living, 10 Sep. 2023 In its heyday, the G20 was a productive forum for laying the groundwork for progress at the UN climate change negotiations. Michael Froman, Fortune, 8 Sep. 2023 More importantly, at least from a historical perspective, his triumph amounted to a makeup call for so many exceptional coaches during the heyday of Black college football, from the late 1940s through early 1970s, who were systemically denied any such opportunity. Samuel G. Freedman, The New Republic, 8 Sep. 2023 That means some of those same wealthy alums that put the football program down a path to ruin by paying players to attend SMU in its Southwest Conference heyday are going to be paying out about $300 million to get back that sweet taste of college football’s big-time. J. Brady McCollough, Los Angeles Times, 1 Sep. 2023 The progressive heyday of direct democracy could, however, be short-lived precisely because of its success. Emily Bazelon, New York Times, 12 Sep. 2023 Last season, the pair starred in a special-edition J.Crew holiday fashion feature that recalled the brand’s heyday. Clare Fisher, Peoplemag, 6 Sep. 2023 Last season, decades after appearing in the 1998 J.Crew catalog with his Creek castmates, Jackson and Turner-Smith starred in a special-edition J.Crew holiday fashion feature that recalled the brand’s heyday. Maria Ward, Vogue, 6 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'heyday.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



irregular from hey

First Known Use


circa 1590, in the meaning defined at sense 2


circa 1529, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of heyday was circa 1529


Dictionary Entries Near heyday

Cite this Entry

“Heyday.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heyday. Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: the time of greatest strength, popularity, or vigor

More from Merriam-Webster on heyday

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