Where does the word “journey” (journal) come from and What does journey mean?

Through the fact that French jour means “day,” it is not surprising to find that Old French journey meant the space of a day, or that which was accomplished in a day, such as work, employment, travel, or the like.

It was the sense of day’s travel, however, in which the word was carried to England.

Thus at first a journey was usually understood to be a distance of twenty miles, or what a man could walk in a day, and greater distances were spoken of as two journeys, ten journeys, or sometimes as two days’ journey, ten days’ journey.

Also from French jour, day, it is readily seen that journal was originally a record of the day. As first employed in England, however, a journal was a record of the ecclesiastical services for each hour of the day.

In strict accuracy, in this sense of a written or printed record, the term should still apply to the occurrences of a single day, though many technical publications, perhaps issued not oftener than once a month, contain the word journal in their titles.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

Leave a Comment