“Weds.”

“[Charles] Manson is scheduled to have a parole hearing at Corcoran State Prison in Central Calif., on Weds., April 11, 2012.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Romney Coming to Delco on Weds.” Headline, PoliticsPA.com

“Smokers asked to ‘Kick Butt’ on Weds.” Headline, Wwlp.com (Chicopee, Mass.)

For some years, I have been noting an increasing tendency to abbreviate Wednesday as Weds. rather than the (U.S.) traditional Wed. This annoys me. Wed. is shorter (always a good thing in an abbreviation), and Weds. elides two letters (ne), never a good thing in an abbreviation. There is, in short, no reason for it.

I had a hunch that Weds. is of British origin, and a Google News search for “on Weds” (you can’t just search wed or weds for obvious reasons) returns more U.K. hits than U.S. ones, but that’s hardly scientific. I consulted my go-to expert, Lynne Murphy, who kindly conducted a survey of British informants. The results: 67 percent favored Weds. That sounds scientific. Unfortunately, the sample size was three.

Wherever it came from, I wish it would stop.

About these ads

18 responses to ““Weds.”

  1. That’s the day that comes after Tues? And before Thurs?

  2. I’m an American living in Australia, so I come across more insane abbreve-o’s than I can shake a stick at. I’ve never seen the one you cite above, but I am quite sure I’ve heard it. Down here, you get people, especially young people, saying, “He’s arriving from Bali on Wends, but might be delayed as late as Sat.” They happily abbreviate both day names, but saying “Wed” is just too far from the way Aussies pronounce the full day name, which is much more like, “Wendsdey.” My hunch about your observations is that the extra ‘s’ is moving back into written English from the spoken. Is there a word for that kind of migration?

    • A propos of not much, I am reminded of people who say ave (rhymes with have) for avenue. This is relatively new – maybe 10 years? Since I quit college teaching I don’t have very much conversation with the younger set so I may have missed a few years there. Since we live on an avenue I hears this abbreve all the time.

  3. Little Black Sambo

    My favourite abbreviation is “Jno” for “John” (to distinguish it from “Joh”, which is short for “Jonathan”.
    (If Americans don’t say “Wensday” for Wednesday, how so they say it?
    BBC announcers say “Wed ‘n’ sday” which is annoying, but they have their own dialect.)

    • Jon is short for Jonathan and there is no abbreviation for John.

      Jho.and Jno must be the product of dyslexia.

      There are some who call themselves Johnathan.- with which the Jno/Joh crowd surely must struggle..

      • David Godman

        ‘jno’ is an old abbreviation of ‘Junior’, usually indicating ‘the son of’. In Wodehouse’s Blandings series, for example, the name and title of the taxi driver Jno Robinson indicated that he was the son of a Robinson who was known to the local community, or who ran the business before him.

      • @John B, and @David Goodman: Sorry, but “Jno.” is absolutely positively an abbreviation of “John”. Every genealogist learns this in the first week. My theory is that the “o” originated as a period (stop) written as a tiny circle, but who knows. Anyway, mistaking it for “Jonathan” or “Junior” is a rookie mistake in genealogy and can badly confuse your research.

  4. Although I concede that Weds is probably BrE using “on Weds” as the search term is likely to favour that result because it always uses the “ON Weds” form whereas AmE does not.

    I forever have to re-parse US headlines of the form “Obama to announce free cupcake deal Wednesday” because on the first reading/hearing I treat Wednesday as an adverb. The BrE headline would be “Obama to announce free cupcake deal ON Wednesday”, “…THIS Wednesday” or “…NEXT Wednesday”.

  5. I’d never use “Weds.”, and I’m British.
    You now have a sample of four, playing havoc with the Maths.

  6. I (Brit) must have been into my thirties before I encountered “Weds.” in writing. I naturally assumed it must mean “Wednesdays”.

    And I was probably almost as old as that before I met anyone who did NOT say “Wed-ns-day” …

  7. The traditional rule of thumb on abbreviations in BrE is that they get a full stop after them if the abbreviation is the first few letters of the shortened word (Prof., Capt., Feb.,and so on) but not if the abbreviation comprises first and last letters (Mr, Mrs, Dr) or is a contraction that takes letters from various parts of the original word (Mlle). I doubt if this distinction will be observed for much longer, but while it does ‘Wed’ in BrE should be followed by a full stop (Wed.), but Weds should not.

  8. I would suggest this is in keeping with a lot of British abbreviation ending in “s”, as in “maths”. It goes back a long way, to the short names of a lot of traditional counties like “Hants” and “Yorks”. BrE favors creating abbreviations by contraction or truncation plus contraction (which is what “Weds.” is), while AmE favors simple truncation. If you drop the “-day” from Wednesday (the pattern used in forming most of these day abbreviations), you’re left with something that naturally lends itself to post-truncation contraction as “Weds”. “Tues” and “Thurs” are also thus common in BrE, vs. AmE’s “Tue.” and “Thu.” (or less frequently “Thur.”).

    As an aside, I think sheer length is why “Satur.” has very little currency anywhere. Similarly, the longer US state abbreviations of my grandmother’s era, like “Calif.” and “Louis.”, are nearly extinct (and not just because of the US Postal Service promoting two-letter codes like CA and LA; truncations like “Cal.” and “Lou.” still exist, and are even current in speech for some states, like “Mich.” and “Miss”.)

  9. In English Engiish (I really dislike the term British English as Scots English is quite different) I’d say you are much more likely to see Wed than Weds.

    On a quick google however I see what appears to be an American English language course for children gives Weds. with what to me is an entirely redundant stop:

    http://www.k12reader.com/punctuation/Using_Abbreviations_for_Days_of_the_Week.pdf

  10. Interestingly, here in central Canada I’ve always used “weds” and have never been corrected for it. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever really noted the “US way” of writing it as simply “wed”. Must be another one of those British-language crossovers that we have here like “colour” and “favourite”.

    I think though, that if you were to take a sample of people here in central Canada to find out which ones use “weds” instead of “wed” it would be a much higher percentage than your sample of Brits…. even of 3 people. Seriously, the only reason I’m here right now on this page is to find out why we DON’T use “wed” to abbreviate it. It’s that common.

  11. I just turned 30. I live in Illinois, USA, and I have always written “Weds” for Wednesday. That’s what I was taught in school. In fact, I found this post after doing a search, because I saw it written as “Wed” somewhere and thought it seemed awkward.

  12. Bless you Jennifer- I have always preferred “Weds” as the abbreviation. “Wed” strikes me as not only awkward but slightly barbaric.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s