Six ways from Sunday

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Six ways from Sunday is an idiom that has undergone many changes over the last several hundred years. We will talk about the meaning, origin and variations of the term six ways from Sunday, as well as provide several examples of use.

The idiom six ways from Sunday means in every way possible, having done something completely, having addressed every alternative. Six ways from Sunday seems to have its origins in the middle eighteenth century as the phrases both ways from Sunday and two ways from Sunday. These earlier phrases referred to the eye condition known as strabismus, where someone’s eyes do not focus in unison, giving the appearance of looking in two different directions. From there, the terms both ways from Sunday and two ways from Sunday gained the figurative meaning of looking at something askew. By the mid-1800s the terms two ways from Sunday and nine ways from Sunday appeared, and the meaning evolved to mean to be at a loss. The phrase evolved once again in the late 1800s in America to mean every way possible. One still finds many varieties of the phrase, the number in question might be six, seven, nine or a thousand, the preposition might be from, to or for, but the day referred to in the idiom is always Sunday and the idiom carries the same meaning, which is in all ways possible. Note that the word Sunday in six ways from Sunday is capitalized, as it is a name of the week.


Lesser known is his role hosting a benefit for the destitute and hungry, a party that’s homemade and from the heart, a tad surreal and in synch with the spirit of old New Orleans six ways from Sunday. (The New Orleans Advocate)

First released in 1984, the song has been covered six ways from Sunday by a wide range of artists (from Jeff Buckley to Bon Jovi), and it seemed to strike a spiritual chord with Church’s fans. (The Rolling Stone Magazine)

The parts are cut to precision using high-pressure hydrojets or formed seven ways from Sunday using hydroforming. (The Duluth News Tribune)