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Apparently the idiomatic usage is derived from the "parade day" military use. A parade is much easier than the soldiers’ usual drilling and forced exercise.


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field day (plural field days)

  1. (military) A day for manoeuvres and tactical exercises in "the field".
    • 1937, Siegfried Sassoon, Sherston's Progress, London: Faber, page 621 (in The Complete Memoirs of George Sherston ):
      This morning I got up, with great difficulty, at 6.30, and at 7.45 we started out for a Brigade Field Day. Did an attack from 10.30 to 2.30, but it wasn't a strenuous one for me as I was told to "become a casualty" soon after the 3000 yard assault began ….
  2. A school day for athletic events; a sports day.
  3. A day of class taken away from school for a field trip.
  4. (idiomatic) A great time or a great deal to do; a period of bustling activity.
    They went to the park and had a field day playing on the swings.
    • 2014, Vance Munraff, Sounds Like Paradise: a Fugitive's Tale,, →ISBN, page 62:
      A family of frisky squirrels was having a field day amongst the towering obstacle course of foliage.
  5. (idiomatic) A great time or a great deal to do, at somebody else's expense.
    The reporters will have a field day with a comment like that.
    The scandal was a field day for the press.
    • 2009, Julie Jurgens-Shimek, Autism Is a Four Letter Word: Love, AuthorHouse, →ISBN, page 32:
      It had become a legal nightmare. All parties had retained attorneys; the community and press were having a field day.
    • 2012, Claudia Parker, Becoming a Mother, While Losing My Own, Xlibris Corporation, →ISBN, page 158:
      I thought I'd been so thorough, so efficient, and so cost conscious, but look where I was now. The devil was having a field day with my head.
    • 2012, Gary Rosen, Unfair to Genius: The Strange and Litigious Career of Ira B. Arnstein, Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 140:
      The reporters were having a field day with our saga and the courtroom filled with spectators.
  6. (US military, specifically US Navy, US Coast Guard and US Marine Corps) A day on which there is top-to-bottom all-hands cleaning.

Derived termsEdit

  • have a field day (idiomatic)