call it a day


  1. the interval of light between two successive nights; the time between sunrise and sunset: Since there was no artificial illumination, all activities had to be carried on during the day.
  2. the light of day; daylight: The owl sleeps by day and feeds by night.
  3. Astronomy.
    1. Also called mean solar day.a division of time equal to 24 hours and representing the average length of the period during which the earth makes one rotation on its axis.
    2. Also called solar day.a division of time equal to the time elapsed between two consecutive returns of the same terrestrial meridian to the sun.
    3. Also called civil day.a division of time equal to 24 hours but reckoned from one midnight to the next.See also lunar day, sidereal day.
  4. an analogous division of time for a planet other than the earth: the Martian day.
  5. the portion of a day allotted to work: an eight-hour day.
  6. a day on which something occurs: the day we met.
  7. (often initial capital letter) a day assigned to a particular purpose or observance: New Year’s Day.
  8. a time considered as propitious or opportune: His day will come.
  9. a day of contest or the contest itself: to win the day.
  10. Often days. a particular time or period: the present day; in days of old.
  11. Usually days. period of life or activity: His days are numbered.
  12. period of existence, power, or influence: in the day of the dinosaurs.
  13. Architecture. light1(def 19a).

  1. call it a day, to stop one’s activity for the day or for the present; quit temporarily: After rewriting the paper, she decided to call it a day.
  2. day and night. night(def 11).
  3. day in, day out, every day without fail; regularly: They endured the noise and dirt of the city day in, day out.Also day in and day out.


  1. Sir Robin. 1923–2000, British radio and television journalist, noted esp for his political interviews


  1. Also called: civil day the period of time, the calendar day, of 24 hours’ duration reckoned from one midnight to the next
    1. the period of light between sunrise and sunset, as distinguished from the night
    2. (as modifier)the day shift
  2. the part of a day occupied with regular activity, esp workhe took a day off
  3. (sometimes plural) a period or point in timehe was a good singer in his day; in days gone by; any day now
  4. the period of time, the sidereal day, during which the earth makes one complete revolution on its axis relative to a particular star. The mean sidereal day lasts 23 hours 56 minutes 4.1 seconds of the mean solar day
  5. the period of time, the solar day, during which the earth makes one complete revolution on its axis relative to the sun. The mean solar day is the average length of the apparent solar day and is some four minutes (3 minutes 56.5 seconds of sidereal time) longer than the sidereal day
  6. the period of time taken by a specified planet to make one complete rotation on its axisthe Martian day
  7. (often capital) a day designated for a special observance, esp a holidayChristmas Day
  8. all in a day’s work part of one’s normal activity; no trouble
  9. at the end of the day in the final reckoning
  10. day of rest the Sabbath; Sunday
  11. end one’s days to pass the end of one’s life
  12. every dog has his day one’s luck will come
  13. in this day and age nowadays
  14. it’s early days it’s too early to tell how things will turn out
  15. late in the day
    1. very late (in a particular situation)
    2. too late
  16. that will be the day
    1. I look forward to that
    2. that is most unlikely to happen
  17. a time of success, recognition, power, etchis day will soon come
  18. a struggle or issue at handthe day is lost
    1. the ground surface over a mine
    2. (as modifier)the day level
  19. from day to day without thinking of the future
  20. call it a day to stop work or other activity
  21. day after day without respite; relentlessly
  22. day by day gradually or progressively; dailyhe weakened day by day
  23. day in, day out every day and all day long
  24. from Day 1 or from Day One from the very beginning
  25. one of these days at some future time
  26. (modifier) of, relating to, or occurring in the daythe day shift

Old English dæg “day,” also “lifetime,” from Proto-Germanic *dagaz (cf. Old Saxon, Middle Dutch, Dutch dag, Old Frisian dei, Old High German tag, German Tag, Old Norse dagr, Gothic dags), from PIE *dhegh-.

Not considered to be related to Latin dies (see diurnal), but rather to Sanskrit dah “to burn,” Lithuanian dagas “hot season,” Old Prussian dagis “summer.” Meaning originally, in English, “the daylight hours;” expanded to mean “the 24-hour period” in late Anglo-Saxon times. Day off first recorded 1883; day-tripper first recorded 1897. The days in nowadays, etc. is a relic of the Old English and Middle English use of the adverbial genitive.

  1. See under sidereal time solar day.

Stop a particular activity for the rest of the day, as in It’s past five o’clock so let’s call it a day. Similarly, call it a night means “to stop something for the rest of the night,” as in One more hand of bridge and then let’s call it a night. The original phrase was call it half a day, first recorded in 1838, which referred to leaving one’s place of employment before the work day was over. The first recorded use of call it a day was in 1919, and of call it a night in 1938. Also see call it quits.

In addition to the idioms beginning with day

  • day after day
  • day and night
  • day by day
  • day in court, have one’s
  • day in, day out
  • day off
  • days are numbered, one’s
  • day to day

also see:

  • all in a day’s work
  • any day
  • apple a day
  • bad hair day
  • break of day
  • by the day
  • call it a day
  • carry the day
  • different as night and day
  • dog days
  • every dog has its day
  • field day
  • for days on end
  • forever and a day
  • from this day forward
  • good day
  • had its day
  • happy as the day is long
  • heavenly days
  • in all one’s born days
  • in the cold light of day
  • in this day and age
  • late in the day
  • make a day of it
  • make one’s day
  • name the day
  • night and day
  • not give someone the time of day
  • not one’s day
  • one of these days
  • order of the day
  • pass the time (of day)
  • plain as day
  • rainy day
  • red-letter day
  • Rome wasn’t built in a day
  • salad days
  • save the day
  • seen better days
  • see the light of day
  • that’ll be the day
  • the other day
  • time of day
  • tomorrow is another day
  • win through (the day)
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