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the last day before an extended weekend, usually Thursday
'It's Independence Day in the US tomorrow, so that makes today a virtual Friday for office workers in the States.'
practically anything exists in virtual form these days … even a virtual kiss
The last day of the working week is usually Friday. If there is an extra day's holiday, then the last working day would be Thursday. This Thursday can then be referred to as a virtual Friday. In the US, the Thanksgiving holiday is always on a Thursday. The next day is also usually taken as holiday, so then the Wednesday of that week is considered to be a virtual Friday. More likely in the UK is the related term virtual Monday. Three-day weekends here usually consist of Saturday, Sunday and a public holiday on Monday, in which case Tuesday is the first day of the working week and constitutes a virtual Monday.
The technological sense of the adjective virtual originated in terms like virtual storage or virtual memory (which relate specifically to the idea of temporary storage space on a computer). However the term virtual reality spawned a new wave of productive use of virtual, now defined in many dictionaries as 'relating to anything which is created by computers or appears on computers or the Internet.' Practically anything exists in virtual form these days, e.g. a virtual pet/office/university/carjacking, even a virtual kiss! The term virtual Friday has probably arisen and been perpetuated as a result of just such use, but in fact reflects more accurately the original, core sense of the adjective, i.e. 'almost the same as the thing described, but not having the actual form or appearance of it'.
This article was first published on 17th March 2003.