In a month of Sundays

Example in use: “I need to go through this huge document and proof read it. My boss thinks it will only take me a few hours! Not in a month of Sundays! This is going to take me days. ”

Meaning: Something will take a very long period of time. If used in the negative form there is the idea that it is too long to actually calculate and maybe even an impossible length of time and therefore will never happen.

Possible German equivalent: Eine halbe Ewigkeit

Possible origin: According to the The Oxford English Dictionary, this idiom can first be found in the book, “Life & Real Adventures Hamilton Murray” in 1759 as “The commander... swore he should dance to the second part of the same tune, for a month of Sundays.”

It is thought that its origins might be in the idea that Sunday was considered a “day of rest” and therefore a day without any sort of amusement. This could make the day feel really long and even boring sometimes and therefore, a whole month of such days would feel like an eternity.

It is very often used in the negative to suggest that the likelihood of something happening is very, very remote. “Do think she will get the job?” “Not in a month of Sundays!”

Sunday / ˈsʌn.deɪ

Welcome again to our weekly series that hopes to go behind the scenes of some rather typical English expressions.