I Google'd "for the day" but it seems that it is not precisely an idiom. Does it mean during day time or for a whole day?

Here is the sentence where I found that expression:

Now I could take a holiday but suddenly I don’t feel like going anywhere on my own. Jan talked about us going somewhere together, but we’ve never even been out for the day.

closed as off-topic by anongoodnurse, user66974, Mari-Lou A, FumbleFingers, Hellion Jun 27 '14 at 15:45

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. A list of these references can be found here: List of general references" – anongoodnurse, Community, Mari-Lou A, FumbleFingers, Hellion
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • What puzzles you about the phrase "for the day"? What different definitions have you read for day? Which do you think seems to fit? If you see out help center for asking questions, it is stated that in order for us to help you, it's important to show your work and reasoning. – anongoodnurse Jun 27 '14 at 3:47
  • 1
    Hi Medica, thanks for your comment. I did pay attention to the fact that "for the day" is different from "for a day". So I suspect "for the day" would either mean "during day time" or "for a whole day" as I indicated in my post. But I cannot seem to find this expression as an entry in any dictionary. So I need some clarification. Your help would be very much appreciated! – Lian Jun 27 '14 at 3:55
  • A day is made up of 24 hours, it includes daytime and nighttime. If a person is leaving for only part of the day then you could say "We're going out this/for the morning/afternoon/evening". If you are out somewhere but you plan to return you could say: I'll be back after lunch/four o'clock/dinner etc. – Mari-Lou A Jun 27 '14 at 6:55

It means for an entire day in this case.

In your example, the writer is expressing reservations about going somewhere with Jan for an extended period of time. It sounds like they have only spent short amounts of time together, and an extended trip would put their relationship to the test.

If going somewhere together doesn't work out, the writer will feel trapped.

When people ask "how long will you be away from the office?" for example, a response of "For the day" means that you should not expect them to return the same day.

  • 1
    It wouldn't include a sleepover though, so it doesn't mean a twenty-four hour period. If one goes out "for the day" it implies eventually coming home to go to bed. Otherwise one would be staying out "overnight". – Cugel Jun 27 '14 at 8:12

Going out "for the day" implies spending the daytime (which in this case can be defined as the time one leaves home in the morning until the time one returns home in the evening) going somewhere (the beach, for example, or to visit friends) but would not include sleeping away from home.

You might go to Brighton for the day, but if you stayed out for twenty-four hours, returning the following morning having slept in a hotel that night, then you'd have gone out "overnight."

So you might say:

"We only intended to go to Brighton for the day, but it was so delightful we ended up staying overnight."

"For the day" will very rarely encompass an entire day, as the accepted answer suggests.

In your example, the writer is anxious about going on holiday (which involves several overnight stays) and is pointing out that there is no precedent in holidaying with Jan because they haven't "even" been out for the day, let alone stayed out overnight together.


Replace "for this day" with "to this day"

Maybe the author of this sentence is from a Latin based language.(i.e..: Portuguese, Spanish, Italian...) In these languages "to" and "for" are translated to the same word.

So the meaning is something like: ...Jan talked about us going somewhere together, but we’ve never even been out together up until this day.

  • It's actually a valid point! The book was written in Czech and translated into English. Alas, is it really so off topic? Why everyone is unhappy with me... – Lian Jun 28 '14 at 7:14
  • What is the context of this sentence inside the whole paragraph? I mean... out of that sentence (sentences before and after)...is the author talking about something momentary or longer time span? When he says: "..but we’ve never even been out..."... He is talking about a holiday, which to me, implies a time span longer than one day. – Guilly Teixeira Jun 30 '14 at 8:36

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.