From Middle High German sunābent, sunnenābent, from Old High German sunnūnāband (literally Sunday eve) (9th c.), calqued on Old English sunnanǣfen. In the Germanic reckoning, the day begins at sunset. Compare Low German Sünnavend, West Frisian snjoen, sneaun, sneon.


  • IPA(key): /ˈzɔˌnaːbənt/, /ˈzɔnˌʔaːbənt/ (standard)
  • IPA(key): /ˈzɔ.namt/ (colloquial)
  • Audio:(file)



Sonnabend m (strong, genitive Sonnabends or Sonnabendes, plural Sonnabende)

  1. (Northern Germany, Eastern Germany) Saturday
    Synonym: Samstag
    • 1896, “§ 193 Sonn- und Feiertag; Sonnabend [Sundays and holidays; Saturdays]”, in Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch [Civil Code]:
      Ist an einem bestimmten Tage oder innerhalb einer Frist eine Willenserklärung abzugeben oder eine Leistung zu bewirken und fällt der bestimmte Tag oder der letzte Tag der Frist auf einen Sonntag, einen am Erklärungs- oder Leistungsort staatlich anerkannten allgemeinen Feiertag oder einen Sonnabend, so tritt an die Stelle eines solchen Tages der nächste Werktag.
      If a declaration of will has to be given or a service has to be rendered on a certain date, or within a period of time, and if said date, or the last day of said period, falls on a Sunday, on a holiday officially recognised at the relevant location or on a Saturday, then this day shall be replaced by the next workday.

Usage notes

  • Sonnabend is still commonly used by older generations in northern Germany, whereas most younger people have adopted the southern/western Samstag. Since Sonnabend was the day's only official name in the German Democratic Republic, the word still enjoys a stronger position in eastern Germany, although the dominant Samstag is also gaining ground among the young.
  • Outside of these areas, Sonnabend might be used in the context of Roman Catholic masses held on Saturday evening, in order to emphasise that such masses count for fulfilling Sunday obligation. This is rare, however.



Derived terms


See also


Further reading

  • Sonnabend” in Duden online
  • Sonnabend” in Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache