How does the word “today” make sense?

So I’m currently reading a book from the 1930s (Lost Horizon), where some language conventions are quite different than the language conventions I am used to today.

One thing piqued my interest: The words “today” and “tomorrow” are written as “to-day” and “to-morrow”. This immediately made me wonder where exactly those words came from.

I could make sense of “to-morrow” pretty quickly after seeing the definition of “morrow” in the dictionary:

  • archaic: MORNING
  • the next day
  • the time immediately after a specified event

However, “to-day” makes little to no sense to me:

The dictionary states that “day” roughly means “the time of light between one night and the next.”

If we go by that definition, “to-day” or “today” roughly means “by day” and doesn’t specify the day like “to-morrow” or “tomorrow” do.

Is there an explanation why that is?


To-day” comes from Old English and means “on the day” similarly to how “to-morrow” means “on the morning“. You will also see “On the morrow” in older writing.

today [alternative forms: to-day (archaic)]


Via Middle English today, from Old English tōdæġ, tō dæġe (“on [the]
day”), made from tō (“at, on”) + dæġe, the dative of dæġ (“day”).


Source : Link , Question Author : gurkensaas , Answer Author : Edwin Ashworth

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