Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A day set aside for sports or athletic competition.
  • n. An outdoor meeting, social event, or festivity.
  • n. A day for military exercises, maneuvers, or display.
  • n. Informal A time of great pleasure, activity, or opportunity: The media had a field day with the sensational story.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A parade day.
  • n. A school day for athletic events; a sports day.
  • n. A day of class taken away from school for a field trip.
  • n. A great time or a great deal to do.
  • n. A great time or a great deal to do, at somebody else's expense.
  • n. Top-to-bottom all-hands cleaning.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A day of unusual exertion or display; a gala day.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A day when troops are drawn up for instruction in field exercises and evolutions.
  • n. Hence Any day of unusual bustle, exertion, or display.
  • n. A day when explorations, scientific investigations, etc., as of a society, are carried on in the field.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a day for outdoor athletic competition
  • n. a day devoted to an outdoor social gathering
  • n. a time of unusual pleasure and success
  • n. (military) a day for military exercises and display

Etymologies

Apparently the idiom is derived from the military use. A parade is much easier than the soldiers’ usual drilling and forced exercise. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The residents of Pine Hill had a field day dissecting her social life.

    Captivated by the Tycoon

  • O’Ryan: The liberals and atheists are having a field day with this.

    Deeper

  • She was certain that Rickie Ross, if he wanted to, could create a major ruckus over this, not to mention the field day the press would have with such a scandal.

    I.O.U.

  • Gertrude Wallaby, the grande dame of Australian soap operas, gets a field day in this ambitious two-part episode, wherein she is called upon to play both the real Elizabeth and the disguised Duchess.

    The Warslayer

  • Giving up on the side rooms — Allan Quartermain might have had a field day here, but he would have come with a pack full of food — she headed for the Oracle's wellspring, sword in one hand, bucket in the other.

    The Warslayer

  • If we don't get the Werewolves quickly the buggers'll have their own mint — a few quick phone calls and money'll be in the mail, the poor bloody victims happy to pay off to escape their attention — and every other bloody villain here with a sense of larceny will have a field day too. "

    Noble House

  • The Brazilian press was having a field day with all of this, quoting Bustani attacking me, saying what I lack in competence is more than made up with a fanatical antidisarmament ideology.

    Surrender is not an Option

  • DEAR SIR, – At a meeting of the Committee of this Society it was agreed that a field day should be held on Aug. 20, when the Society proposes to visit the interesting church of Ivybridge and also the Roman remains in the vicinity.

    The Wouldbegoods

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