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I and my friends disagree on what 周末 means. And to summarize all opinions, is it

  • 周五, 周末 was used to describe 周六 when 周六 is workday (last workday in a week). And since 周六 is no longer a workday, we call 周五 as 周末
  • 周六, 周末 means 周六. Typically the last column on (most) calendars.
  • 周日, 周末 literally means the ending (last day) of a week, which should be 周日
  • 周六 and 周日, 周末 is opposite of workdays, which should be both 周六 and 周日

Which one is more acceptable / correct?

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周末 literally means "weekend," and in modern China, it usually refers to "Saturday and Sunday."

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  • If we consider 周末 has same meaning as Weekend, means last day of a week, shouldn't it be only Saturday? – tsh Dec 30 '19 at 9:22
  • @tsh In China, the last day of the week is usually Sunday. – fefe Dec 30 '19 at 9:26
  • @fefe And that would be "only Sunday". Still not "both Sat. and Sun". – tsh Dec 30 '19 at 9:36
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It is usually Saturday and Sunday.

It used to be only Sunday, the last day of week in China, which happened to be the only day in the week which is not a workday.

But as workdays changed from 6 days to 5 days in a week, 周末 now usually refers to the Saturday and Sunday.

ref: 汉典 give this definition for 周末:

原指星期六下班后到星期天晚,实行五天工作制后,指每周的最后两天

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I'm not really understanding any of your theorized possibilities but I have one thing that might help add to your logic.

I've seen conversations that go something like:

A: 我们周末生意比较好。
B: 那就是星期五晚上跟星期六晚上哈?
A: 诶,对,就是。

In this context the "weekend" (周末) became the nights before a typical weekend of Saturday and Sunday, this is assumedly because people need to get up Monday morning so going out on a Sunday night is not viable and is thus stricken from the weekend. It's almost Jewish in a way.

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