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Daylight Savings Time vs Daylight Saving Time

The practice of turning the clocks one hour forward to save energy is often called “daylight savings time”. However, daylight saving time (DST) is considered to be the correct term. timeanddate.com briefly looks at DST’s variations such as “daylight savings time”, “daylight-saving time” and “summer time”.

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The media have, over the years, been publishing and broadcasting variations of the expression "daylight saving time".

Daylight Savings Time Commonly Used

Many print, online, and broadcast media sources that cover news articles, announcements or features about daylight saving time (DST) often use the phrase “daylight savings” or “daylight savings time”. These phrases are used to describe the possible energy or electricity savings that are made (or not made) as a result of such a schedule.

However, daylight saving time (DST) is considered to be the correct term for the practice of advancing clocks to save energy because it refers to a time for saving daylight. Another correct variation is “daylight-saving time”, which includes use of the hyphen between “daylight” and “saving”.

Nonetheless, “daylight savings time” is still commonly used, especially in countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States. It is likely that the incorrect term “savings” entered the popular vocabulary because it is so often used in everyday contexts, such as “savings account”.

At the beginning of the DST period in the spring clocks are moved forward, usually by one hour. When DST ends in fall (autumn), clocks are turned back again. DST does not add daylight but it gives more usable hours of daylight. In that sense, DST “saves” daylight, especially during the winter months when the days get colder and darker. Standard time refers to time without DST.

“Summer Time”

Another term that is commonly used to refer to DST, particularly in places such as the United Kingdom, is “summer time”. British Summer Time (BST) is the period in which DST is observed in the United Kingdom. The term “winter time” is used for standard time, or time without DST. The term “summer time” is used in various bills and Acts about DST in the United Kingdom. This includes the Summer Time Act of 1916, the Summer Time Act of 1925, and the Summer Time Act of 1972.

The term "Sommerzeit" (summer time) has also been used in Germany to describe DST. For example, on April 6, 1916, the German Federal Council decreed that its summer daylight saving time would be instituted in Germany as a wartime measure, starting the last Sunday of that month. Germany was one of the first countries to observe DST.