Each Monday, I’m posting on my blog about a phrase or common saying, what they mean and how they came about.
I’m working through the alphabet and choosing one saying for each letter.
Have you ever heard or used the expression, “He’s having a real field day” . . . or “The kids had a field day when their teacher wasn’t around to keep them quiet?”
That’s what we’re looking at this week. What does it mean to have a Field Day? And where did the expression come from?
What does it mean to have a Field Day?
Most of you probably know this expression means to have a wonderful time, usually a great time of freedom from the usual routine. For example: “The teacher was away from school that day and so the children enjoyed a field day with very little supervision.”
I first thought this would have originated with time spent in the fields, so perhaps an agricultural background. But that is not the case. The phrase actually stems from the military. During the 18th century, it meant a time when officers would spend time “in the field” working with their soldiers, practicing their military maneuvers.
During the 19th century:
the phrase began to be used to refer to any event that might happen in a field. For example, during scientific expeditions: “We had a delightful field-day in the abbey.” Sir George Gilbert Scott in Recollections, 1878.
It then began to be used for any exciting, out-of-routine event. And example of this could be: “Saturday was a considerable field day in Arlington Street” written in Thomas Creevey’s Letters in 1827.
Nowadays it can mean any sort of excitement or an opportunity to make the most of a situation. It is often used in connection with the media. For example, In Jonah Lomu’s My Story: Revised Edition,” while talking about the breakup of his marriage Jonah says, “It was hard. The media had a field day. It certainly didn’t make our split any easier.”
A short while ago I read, “Social media had a field day calling out a spelling error in a video that was posted to President Trump’s Facebook page.” It seems he was promoting the need to put the miners back to work. But the post read, they intended to put their “minors” back to work.
Yeah . . . I bet the Social media had a field day!
Now over to you.
Can you share an example of a time when you had a field day? Please share in the comment box below. I love reading your comments!