hey·day | \ˈhā-ˌdā \

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

For example, the modern minimum wage law — the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 — dates back to the heyday of efforts to use discharge petitions, which lasted into the ’60s and ’70s. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "The Old-School Trick That Finally Pushed the House to Move on Immigration," 13 June 2018 The protest marches that have filled the nation’s streets since the election of Donald Trump rely on multiple voices, a change from the heyday of ‘60s social activism where there often was one famous face connected to a cause. Washington Post, "Today’s protests: Many voices, social media, not 1 leader," 22 June 2018 But things have changed since the heyday of the Millcroft Inn, which sits on just under a half acre at the intersection of Water and Mill streets. Jeanne Houck, Cincinnati.com, "Millcroft Inn too 'historically significant' to demolish, Milford historical society pleads," 5 June 2018 Roseanne’s pre-Twitter controversies Beyond Twitter, and even at the heyday of Roseanne in the 90s, Barr has always been controversial. Mahita Gajanan, Time, "Roseanne Barr Had a History of Racist Tweets, Conspiracy Theories and Controversy Before Roseanne Was Canceled," 29 May 2018 The Turin facility is the historic center of Fiat, having been inaugurated by the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in 1939 and employing some 50,000 workers in its heyday in the 1970s. Tommaso Ebhardt, Bloomberg.com, "Fiat CEO Is Ready to Abandon Making Mass-Market Cars in Italy," 18 May 2018 Sputnik Monroe helped sell out out arenas in Memphis, Tennessee, during his professional wrestling heyday in 1959. John Sharp, AL.com, "Sputnik Monroe inducted into WWE Hall of Fame legacy wing," 8 Apr. 2018 The female melodrama was one of the foremost genres of classical Hollywood filmmaking, reaching its heyday in the 1940s. Katie Walsh, latimes.com, "Tyler Perry's over-the-top 'Acrimony' is the Taraji P. Henson performance you've been waiting for," 30 Mar. 2018 Both buildings were carefully restored and decorated with a nod to Morocco’s glamorous 1930s heyday. Alice Newell-hanson, Condé Nast Traveler, "19 Hotels That Used to Be Churches, Temples, and More," 29 Mar. 2018

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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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 \

Kids Definition of heyday

: the time of greatest strength, popularity, or success

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