One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Denoting an ordinary weekday, as opposed to one appointed for a festival or fast.
- ‘These are usually referred to as festal responses, ferial responses keeping the chant in the treble and being harmonized in a simple fashion.’
Late Middle English: from medieval Latin ferialis, from Latin feria ‘holiday’. In late Latin feria was used with a prefixed ordinal number to mean ‘day of the week’ (e.g. secunda feria ‘second day, Monday’), but Sunday (Dominicus) and Saturday (Sabbatum) were usually referred to by their names; hence feria came to mean ‘ordinary weekday’.
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