I remember a couple weeks ago I was reading about the names for the days of the week in Thai, and come across the list. I see Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and nothing seems out of the ordinary – just some small pieces of vocabulary to learn. Then, looking at Thursday, I gasped. What did I just read? The name for Thursday in Thai is a seven syllable word. Seeing it next to two or three syllable words just made it stand out more.
Before I get too ahead of myself, let’s take a step back. When we looked into the Thai calendar system before, one thing we didn’t cover was the actual names for each of the days in Thai. As you can imagine, there are many situations where this skill would come in useful, such as reading a calendar, or finding out which day a special offer will end at the local shop. Whatever the reason, these are some of the basic vocabulary that you should learn to form the basis of you understanding of Thai. With that said, let’s delve in.
To start, we will look at Monday. The way to say Monday in Thai is ‘wan jan’ (วันจันทร์). the ‘wan’ (วัน) part of the word means day, as you will see as we continue down this list. Unlike in English however, the day part actually goes at the beginning of the name rather than the end. When you break it down like that, it reduces the amount of new words you need to learn, which is always helpful.
So, I imagine you are asking whether the other part of the word has any special meaning. Well, actually, it does. Each day of the week is named after something. In this case, ‘jan’ (จันทร์) is actually named after the Moon. Interesting, right?
Next up is Tuesday. To say Tuesday in Thai, you use ‘wan ang kaan’ (วันอังคาร). If it helps to remember, the second (2nd) day of the week has two (2) syllables -‘ang’ and ‘kaan’. To note on pronunciation, it doesn’t quite rhyme with Monday as the ‘kaan’ part is extended a bit more when spoken.
The second day of the week follows the same pattern as before when it comes to the translation. That is because ‘angkaan’ (อังคาร) is the name for Mars. Now you start to see that the days of the week are named after planets. More specifically, they are named after the zodiac signs.
Now on to Wednesday, which in Thai is ‘wan phut’ (วันพุธ). So far, we have had the Moon and Mars. So what is up next? Well the ‘phut’ (พุธ) part of the name is named after Mercury.
Now Thursday is the odd one out here. Not only is the word significantly longer, it is also given a less formal shortened version too. Thursday in Thai is ‘wan pah roo hat sa bor dee‘ (วันพฤหัสบดี). Obviously, that is quite a mouthful, which is why you will more commonly hear it referred to as ‘wan pah roo hat’ (วันพฤหัส) which is much easier to say.
The meaning of ‘pah roo hat sa bor dee’ (พฤหัสบดี) is Jupiter. As the biggest planet, it is natural that it has the biggest name, I guess.
Friday in Thai is ‘wan suk’ (วันศุกร์). The word ‘suk’ (ศุกร์) actually means Venus and is yet again from the zodiac.
Now we move on to the weekend. If you want to say Saturday in Thai, you would use ‘wan sao’ (วันเสาร์). ‘Sao’ (เสาร์) is the word meaning Saturn.
For Sunday, you would use ‘wan ah thit’ (วันอาทิตย์). Interestingly, as you will discover below, ‘ah thit’ is actually one of the words that mean week in Thai. This may be linked to the fact that ‘ah thit’ (อาทิตย์) actually means Sun.
Other than the days of the week, there are some other words we use when talking about different dates and days of the week. First of all, there is yesterday, which is ‘mua wan’ (เมื่อวาน). Then there is today, said as ‘wan nii’ (วันนี้) in Thai. Tomorrow in Thai is said as ‘proong nii’ (พรุ่งนี้).
Seven days is equal to a week, which in Thai is ‘ah thit’ (อาทิตย์) or more formally ‘sapdah’ (สัปดาห์). Similarly, to say next week you can use either ‘ah thit nah’ (อาทิตย์หน้า) or ‘sapdah nah’ (สัปดาห์หน้า). However, when you want to say weekend, only ‘sud sapdah’ (สุดสัปดาห์) would be used. Finally, there is weekday, which is completely different. Weekday in Thai is ‘wan thamadah‘ (วันธรรมดา).
In summary, each day of the week starts with the words for day: ‘wan’. Following that, there is a name of a planet from the zodiac. When it comes down to it, it shouldn’t too difficult to learn these. I think the challenge will be remembering which name is for which day but that is something you will get the hang of over time. With this knowledge, combined with the time in Thai and calendar, you should be well set to talk about specifics dates with your Thai friends. Congratulations on that!
If you need more practice, try out the Ling Thai app and work your way through the vocabulary and start remembering your Wednesdays from your Fridays.