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). Around the same time, "heyday" saw use as a noun meaning "high spirits." (This sense can be seen in Act III, Scene IV 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….") It wasn’t until the 18th century that English speakers, perhaps interpreting the "day" of the second syllable to mean "a time or period," began using "heyday" to refer 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 The heyday of the volunteer fire departments was coming to an end anyway. Gary Kamiya, San Francisco Chronicle, "They strutted, brawled and threw the best parties in Gold Rush S.F. They also put out fires," 30 Apr. 2021 During Browdy’s heyday, the place was packed at lunchtime. Mary Colurso | Mcolurso@al.com, al, "15 Birmingham restaurants that are gone but not forgotten," 7 Apr. 2021 The Cougars are back in the Final Four for the first time since 1984 and the heyday of Phi Slama Jama. Chuck Carlton, Dallas News, "No longer a dream deferred, Baylor punches ticket to Final Four after defeating Arkansas," 29 Mar. 2021 With time, Silver grew more curious to learn about the earlier period, the heyday of these artists. Asaf Shalev, sun-sentinel.com, "Historian is preserving North African Jewish music from a bygone era," 17 Mar. 2021 The heyday of the Laurel Canyon troubadour scene was in full effect: King was just starting to work on Tapestry, James on Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon, Joni Mitchell on Blue. David Browne, Rolling Stone, "The Return of," 1 Apr. 2021 The heyday of concerts at the stadium was 1994 to 1996. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Readers remember their favorite San Diego concerts at now defunct Mission Valley stadium," 28 Mar. 2021 The company became the nation’s largest import brand during the heyday of the original Beetle. Paul A. Eisenstein, NBC News, "Volkswagen's name change of U.S. 'Voltswagen' operations was marketing prank," 30 Mar. 2021 Of the 18 or so large scoring stages that operated during the heyday of Hollywood, only Fox, Sony and Warner Bros. remain. Tim Greiving, Los Angeles Times, "COVID-19 changed how movie and TV music gets made. L.A. musicians learn to improvise," 29 Mar. 2021

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.

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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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Statistics for heyday

Last Updated

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Heyday.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heyday. Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for heyday



English Language Learners Definition of heyday

: the time when someone or something is most successful, popular, etc.


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

Kids Definition of heyday

: the time of greatest strength, popularity, or success

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