hey·​day | \ ˈhā-ˌdā How to pronounce heyday (audio) \

Definition of heyday

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the period of one's greatest popularity, vigor, or prosperity
2 archaic : high spirits



Definition of heyday (Entry 2 of 2)

used to express elation or wonder

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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: Noun Today, Chinese readers see him as one of the earliest apostates of the church of American exceptionalism, which spurred many families to immigrate to the United States during the heyday of market reforms. Chang Che, The New Yorker, 21 Mar. 2022 On special occasions, Benner's parents would take the kids to Pacers games back in the late 1960s and 1970s when the team was in its ABA heyday, winning league titles. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, The Indianapolis Star, 7 Apr. 2022 Later that day, guests are guided through the deep forest temple of Ta Prohm as well as the ancient city of Angkor Thom, the largest city in the world during its heyday in the 12th century and the last capital of the Khmer empire. Laurie Werner, Forbes, 25 Mar. 2022 Hurt's late-career triumph as a vindictive, chatty crime boss in David Cronenberg's action-thriller was delicious fun: a role that literalized much of the rage that had been simmering under the surface during his '80s heyday. Joshua Rothkopf, EW.com, 14 Mar. 2022 An unscientific polling of my Gen-X friends, who have supported this team since its heyday in the 1980s, revealed apoplectic reaction and disbelief that a two-year process to reboot the organization birthed ... Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 2 Feb. 2022 His father worked in the heyday of the Bering Sea red king crab fishery, which this past fall was put on hold due to conservation concerns. Anchorage Daily News, 4 Apr. 2022 Novaya cemented itself as the go-to publication of Russia’s liberal intelligentsia during the heyday of independent journalism in the 1990s. Washington Post, 21 Mar. 2022 During its 1940s heyday, the town was home to about 5,000 Jews, which accounted for more than 90% of its population. Diane Cole, WSJ, 6 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'heyday.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of heyday


circa 1590, in the meaning defined at sense 2


circa 1529, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for heyday


irregular from hey

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Time Traveler for heyday

Time Traveler

The first known use of heyday was circa 1529

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Dictionary Entries Near heyday

hey cockalorum



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Statistics for heyday

Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Heyday.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heyday. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for heyday


hey·​day | \ ˈhā-ˌdā How to pronounce heyday (audio) \

Kids Definition of heyday

: the time of greatest strength, popularity, or success

More from Merriam-Webster on heyday

Nglish: Translation of heyday for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of heyday for Arabic Speakers


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