Black Friday & Cyber Monday: a terminological review

November 24, 2016 11:00 am

As you may know, tomorrow 25th November will be the worldwide popular Black Friday; and after this crazy shopping day comes the Cyber Monday, next Monday 28th November.


Let’s start with a little overview: Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, and it signals the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Even though this day is not an official holiday, lots of companies give their employees the whole day off, so that many people can make the most of it and jump-start their holiday shopping. But the truth is that Black Friday has become a marketing phenomenon lately. During the recent years, it has been one of the busiest shopping days of the year besides being spread in many countries all over the world.

There are different myths of Black Friday origins, such as the claim that the term was originated with the practice of selling off slaves on the day after Thanksgiving. Another repeated but trustful story is linked to retailers: during the crash of the US gold market in 1896 and after an entire year of operating loss (i.e. were left “in the red“), the stores earned a big profit (came out “in the black“) on this particular Friday because of the special discounts.

Coming back to the recent popularity of Black Friday, it has led the apparition of the increasingly trendy Cyber Monday. This is another marketing term that was of course adopted during the 2000’s with the apparition and fast development of online shopping. The action itself is intented to persuade people to shop online. For those who are too busy to go shopping during the Black Friday -or just don’t want to fight the crowds- the Monday following Black Friday has become known as Cyber Monday because of the many online deals that companies offer in their e-commerces.


However, have you ever realized that both terms are used in English in all the countries? It is true that both comes from the English language (US) and that Anglicisms are notably common in the field of Marketing, but the point is that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are rarely translated into any other language. Or in any case, it sounds weird when they are. Being part of the whole marketing strategy or not, leaving the terms in English when applied in any other language has a direct and catchy impact for customers.

Down below we present you a list of headlines worldwide from different newspapers that show how Black Friday and Cyber Monday are commonly used in English regardless the source language.


  • España se engancha al ‘black friday’, El País, Spain.
  • Black Friday, allarme “phishing” per l’ecommerce, La Repubblica, Italy.
  • Cyber Monday. Auf zur virtuellen Konsumparty. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany.
  • Black Friday w Bydgoszczy. Podpowiadamy, jakie są promocje, Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland.
  • Black Friday au Maroc: Aubaines ou arnaques ? Telquel, Morocco.
  • Las visitas al Cybermonday en su mayoría se realizan desde celulares, El Diario, Argentina.
  • Black Friday deve anticipar venda de Natal; presentes ficarão mais baratos. Correio Braziliense, Brazil. 


Are you going to have a look at the stores or do you prefer to do your shopping at home? And about the ‘translation issue‘, do you think that Black Friday and Cyber Monday should be translated? Let us know your opinion, we are interested in your feedback!


Written by Ana Jiménez Morente
Content Editor.
Communication Trainee, DG TRAD – Terminology Coordination Unit




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