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

Definition of heyday

 (Entry 1 of 2)

used to express elation or wonder



Definition of heyday (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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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


in its heyday, the circus was a major form of entertainment for small-town America

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In its heyday in the early ’70s, MAD had more than 2 million subscribers, but those numbers dwindled dramatically in recent decades. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Last Laugh: ‘MAD’ Magazine Will Soon Disappear from Newsstands," 9 July 2019 The woman argued that the Mafia would not have tolerated open violence in the streets back in its heyday. Osita Nwanevu, The New Yorker, "Cutouts of J.F.K., Jr., Tanks, and Adulation at Trump’s “Salute to America”," 6 July 2019 Patric Kuh, for many years the restaurant critic at Los Angeles magazine, cooked at Citrus in its heyday. Bill Addison, latimes.com, "Has the curse on a storied Melrose restaurant space finally lifted?," 6 July 2019 The Henderson, Kentucky, native was one of the fastest sprinters in the world in his heyday. Robert Rimpson, The Courier-Journal, "Meet King Combest, a track prodigy and son of one of Kentucky's all-time greats," 5 July 2019 In its heyday, the Walkman was as synonymous with portable music players as Kleenex became to tissue and Xerox was to copy machines. Cnn Staff, CNN, "Happy 40th birthday, Walkman," 1 July 2019 In its heyday, Japantown spread over 36 blocks and is now down to three or four blocks. Shwanika Narayan, SFChronicle.com, "The Japan Center Malls are doing well. Why is their future uncertain?," 30 June 2019 Through the magic of theater, he's transported back to the bar in its heyday. Manuel Mendoza, Dallas News, "'My story, too': Dallas' Uptown Players brings victims of 1973 gay bar fire to life in 'View UpStairs'," 20 June 2019 In its heyday, there were 25 locomotives of its kind. Alexa Buechler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The world's largest steam locomotive chugging through to Wisconsin next month," 17 June 2019

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


1599, in the meaning defined above


1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for heyday


irregular from hey

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hey cockalorum





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Time Traveler for heyday

The first known use of heyday was in 1590

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on heyday

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with heyday

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for heyday

Spanish Central: Translation of heyday

Nglish: Translation of heyday for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of heyday for Arabic Speakers

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