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What is TGIF?

By O. Wallace
Updated May 16, 2024
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Anyone who attends school or works Monday through Friday will tell you that the last day of their week is met with much anticipation. Each Monday, the countdown to Friday begins, and so naturally, Friday is received with open arms. TGIF, the acronym for Thank God It’s Friday, or Thank Goodness It’s Friday came about in the 1960s as a universal mantra to express the relief of the end of the workweek, as well as reference to the good times planned for the weekend ahead.

The weekend as we know it did not come into existence until the five-day workweek became standard in the U.S. and many other industrialized countries in the 20th century. Until then, many workers worked seven days a week, or had only Sundays off. The Sabbath, which varies in Christianity, Judaism and Islam, plays a large role in what comprises a weekend. In the U.S. and other predominately Christian countries, the weekend is Saturday and Sunday. Although Friday is considered by many to be unlucky, some cultures believe that Friday is the luckiest day for marriage and fertility, as it is named for the Norse Goddess Freya, the Goddess of fertility.

One of the earliest references of TGIF can be found in the perennial favorite grill and bar, T.G.I. Fridays, which first opened in 1965 on Manhattan’s Upper East Side as a place for young professionals and students to mingle. Their slogan soon became, “In here, it’s always Friday”®, evoking the celebratory feeling of Friday that everyone looks forward to all week long.

Although TGIF remained an oft used phrase shared by many an employee or student on Friday, it reached its fever pitch by 1978, when Donna Summer starred in the movie, Thank God It’s Friday. Surely, the disco and club scene of the 1970s and 1980s contributed to the party-like atmosphere that Fridays seemed have been imbued with. Even non-partiers relished in the opportunity to stay up late Friday and Saturday, and sleep in late the following day, or make up sleep lost over the workweek. PDFs, or pay-day Fridays are even more special, knowing that you can relax or play with your paycheck newly deposited into your bank account.

In the 1990s, the network ABC launched its TGIF Friday night lineup which brought in the viewers with family friendly comedies. For families, it was a night of relaxation when kids could stay up a little later than usual with the parents.

On college campuses, TGIF means parties and often, heavy drinking. Some universities have used tactics to entice students to enroll in Friday morning classes to avoid Thursday night parties. In an effort to stretch the weekend partying by another day, many bars have introduced the mantra, “Thursday is the new Friday,” to convince students that the standard weekend needs an extra day. Although “TGIT” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, it seems to be working, as more students report avoiding registering for Friday classes to get more socializing time in.

The acronym TGIF has become so popular and memorable that many other phrases and names use it for their acronym, including “Thank God I’m Female,” “That Girl is Fine,” The Global Institute of Finance & Banking,” “The Green Initiative Fund,” and the “Texas Geriatrics Interest Fund.”

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Discussion Comments

By anon348495 — On Sep 17, 2013

I'm listening right now to a radio show from July 1964, featuring disc jockey "The Real Don Steele" on KISN, Portland Oregon, and about 37 minutes in they play a "TGIF" jingle for the radio station.

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