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nine-day wonder definition


Define the English word nine-day wonder below. Nine-day wonder is a noun. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: nine day wonder



From nine +‎ day +‎ wonder (something that causes amazement or awe). References to a period of nine days or nights to describe the length of a short-lived fad date from as early as the 14th century;[1] see, for instance, Troilus and Criseyde (c. 1380s) by the English poet Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340s – 1400; spelling modernized): “Ek [besides] wonder last but nine days never in town”.[2]



nine-day wonder (plural nine-day wonders)

  1. (idiomatic) Something that generates interest for a limited time and is then abandoned.
    Synonyms: flash in the pan, seven-day wonder
    • [[1578], John Lylly [i.e., John Lyly], “To the Gentlemen Readers”, in Euphues. The Anatomy of Wyt. [], London: [] Thomas East, for Gabriell Cawood, [], published 1581, →OCLC; republished in Edward Arber, editor, Euphues. The Anatomy of Wit. [] Euphues and His England. [], London: Alex[ander] Murray & Son, [], 1 October 1868, →OCLC, page 205:
      [] I am content this Summer to haue my dooinges read for a toye, that in Winter they may be ready for traſh. It is not ſtrange when as the greateſt wonder laſteth but nine daies, that a new worke ſhuld not endure but three months.]
    • c. 1587 (date written), [Thomas Kyd], The Spanish Tragedie: [] (Fourth Quarto), London: [] W[illiam] W[hite] for T[homas] Pauier, [], published 1602, →OCLC, Act III:
      This that I did vvas for a policie, / To ſmooth and keepe the murther ſecret, / VVhich at a nine daies vvonder being ore-blovvne, / My gentle ſiſter vvill I novv inlarge.
    • [c. 1598–1600 (date written), William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene ii], page 196, column 1:
      I vvas ſeuen of the nine daies out of the vvonder, before you came: []]
    • 1625 (date written), Philip Massinger, A New Way to Pay Old Debts: A Comœdie [], London: [] E[lizabeth] P[urslowe] for Henry Seyle, [], published 1633, →OCLC, Act IV, scene ii:
      VVould that vvere the vvorſt: / That vvere but nine dayes vvonder, []
    • 1635, Fra[ncis] Quarles, “Canto VIII. Luke VI. XXV.”, in Emblemes, London: [] G[eorge] M[iller] and sold at at Iohn Marriots shope [], →OCLC, book I, page 34:
      But vvhen the frequent Soule-departing Bell / Has pav'd their eares vvith her familiar knell, / It is reputed but a nine dayes vvonder, / They neither feare the Thund'rer, nor his Thunder; []
    • 1819 July 15, [Lord Byron], Don Juan, London: [] Thomas Davison, [], →OCLC, canto I, stanza CLXXXVIII, page 97:
      The pleasant scandal which arose next day, / The nine days' wonder which was brought to light, / And how Alfonso sued for a divorce, / Were in the English newspapers, of course.
    • 1859–1861, [Thomas Hughes], “The Schools”, in Tom Brown at Oxford: [], part 2nd, Boston, Mass.: Ticknor and Fields, published 1861, →OCLC, page 6:
      Everybody else was thinking of his breakdown; some with real sorrow and sympathy; others as of any other nine-days' wonder,—pretty much as if the favorite for the Derby had broken down; others with ill-concealed triumph, for Blake had many enemies amongst the men.
    • 1863, Cyrus Redding, chapter I, in Yesterday and To-day. [], volume II, London: T[homas] Cautley Newby, [], →OCLC, page 22:
      [O]ut of Germany come mesmerism and all the other "isms" that pass for nine-day wonders.
    • 1889 July, A. H. Wilson, “Nine-day Wonder”, in J. J. Lawrence, editor, The Medical Brief, a Monthly Journal of Practical Medicine, volume XVII, number 7, St. Louis, Mo.: J. J. Lawrence, →OCLC, page 331:
      Well, dear editor, I suppose you are, like myself, wearied with the "nine-day wonder," and I will merely add that I have thought it possible that in this case, as in many others I have known, the amniotic sac, by some means, was ruptured and the fluid all passed out.
    • 1897, Bram Stoker, “Cutting from ‘The Dailygraph,’ 8 August (Pasted in Mina Murray’s Journal.) From a Correspondent.”, in Dracula, New York, N.Y.: Modern Library, →OCLC, page 89:
      As the matter is to be a "nine days' wonder," they are evidently determined that there shall be no cause of after complaint.
    • 1946 December 16, Bernard Frizell, “Handless Veteran: Amateur Actor Harold Russell has No Trouble with Hooks, a Great Deal with Anxious Friends”, in Henry R[obinson] Luce, editor, Life, volume 21, number 25, Chicago, Ill., New York, N.Y.: Time Inc., →ISSN, →OCLC, page 74, column 2:
      Harold Russell, who plays handless Homer Parrish in The Best Years of Our Lives, is not only a nine-day wonder in the movies but also one of the best-adjusted veterans of World War II. The most widely publicized double amputee of the war, Russell realizes that, though there is talk of his getting an Academy Award, he is strictly a one-shot and will probably act in no more movies.
    • 1960 January, G. Freeman Allen, “‘Condor’—British Railways’ Fastest Freight Train”, in Trains Illustrated, London: Ian Allan Publishing, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 47:
      In his letter to this journal Mr. Lawrence remarked that some traders were waiting to see if "Condor" was merely a nine days' wonder before scheduling its use by their goods.
    • 1993 December, Brian Stableford, “The Cure for Love”, in The Cure for Love and Other Tales of the Biotech Revolution, [Rockville, Md.]: Borgo Press, published 2007, →ISBN, page 40:
      So far as we're concerned, the ashes of Endymion can stay buried for another two hundred years—or another two million. It doesn't matter; come the day when somebody stumbles over the tombstones, they'll just be an archaeological find: a nine day wonder. By then, we'll be out among the stars. Earth will be just our cradle.
    • 2006, Ian Stewart, “Pure or Applied?”, in Letters to a Young Mathematician, New York, N.Y.: Basic Books, →ISBN, page 142:
      It's actually rather easy to assess the scientific influence of, for instance, fractals or chaos. [] You can't dismiss something as a nine-day wonder when it has survived for nine thousand days and is currently thriving.
    • 2019, Pamela McCorduck, “Being a Nine-day Wonder”, in This Could Be Important: My Life and Times with the Artificial Intelligentsia, Pittsburgh, Pa.: Carnegie Mellon University; ETC Press; Signature, →ISBN, part 4 (The World Discovers Artificial Intelligence), section 1, page 297:
      Ed[ward] Feigenbaum and I enjoyed the giddy experience of being nine-day wonders. Yes, it's fun to walk along Madison Avenue and see your own book in bookshop windows.

Alternative forms


See also


  1. ^ nine days’ (also day) wonder” under “nine, adj. and n.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2022; “nine day wonder, phrase”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  2. ^ [Geoffrey Chaucer; William Caxton, editor] (c. 1380s) The Double Sorow of Troylus to Telle Kyng Pryamus Sone of Troye [...] [Troilus and Criseyde], [Westminster]: Explicit per Caxton, published 1482, →OCLC; republished in [William Thynne], editor, The Workes of Geffray Chaucer Newlye Printed, [], book IV, [London]: [] [Richard Grafton for] Iohn Reynes [], 1542, →OCLC, folio cxcvi, recto, column 1: “Eke wõder laſt but .ix. dayes neuer in tonne”. In some versions, the text refers to nine nights.