A journal (through French from Latin diurnalis, daily) has several related meanings:
- a daily record of events or business; a private journal is usually referred to as a diary
- a newspaper or other periodical, in the literal sense of one published each day
- many publications issued at stated intervals, such as academic journals (including scientific journals), or the record of the transactions of a society, are often called journals.

Journal comes from an Old French word which meant daily (jour being the French word for day, as in soup du jour, or “soup of the day”). You can keep a journal in an old notebook, on the computer, or on scraps of paper, but if you keep it in a book made especially for that purpose, then that physical book (whether you've written in it or not) is called a journal.

In accounting, a first recording of financial transactions as they occur in time, so that they can then be used for future reconciling and transfer to other official accounting records such as the general ledger. A journal will state the date of the transaction, which account(s) were affected and the amounts, usually in a double-entry bookkeeping method.

The word "journal" has been derived from the French word "jour". Jour means day. So journal means daily. Transactions are recorded daily in journal and hence it has been named so. It is a book of original entry to record chronologically (i.e. in order of date) and in detail the various transactions of a trader. It is also known Day Book because it contains the account of every day's transactions.