Origin of The Seasons' Names
I’m confident that you know that there are four seasons in a year. But why do think we call the seasons Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter? Do you ever wonder how the names originated? Read on to find out the origin of the seasons' names.
Spring goes back to “Lent” in Old English,1 a time of Lenten, or observance of the religious Lent.2 In the 4th century, “Lenten” was replaced with “springing time,” commemorating plants springing from the ground.3 Eventually the name shorted to "spring time," and then to just "spring" in the 16th century.1
Summer originates from the old English name “sumor,” referring to that time of the year.1 Summer also originated from the Proto-Germanic name “sumur,” deriving from the Proto-Indo-European name “sam,” which means summer.3
Autumn or Fall is lucky enough to have two names. The names replaced “haerfest,” meaning harvest or bring in crops from the fields. Harvest lost its seasonal meaning by the 18th century, which allowed Fall and Autumn precedence.2 In the USA, most people say "Fall," and in Europe, most people say "Autumn," the preferred term for the major harvest season.
"Fall's" origin remains obscure, but the best guess for the name is for the time when the temperatures drop, and the leaves fall from the trees, showed in the contraction of the English saying, “fall of the leaf.”1 "Fall" started as an English word in the 16th century, but was appropriated by Americans in the 17th century; eventually, Americans adopted "Fall," and the British use declined. 3
“Autumn's” origin was the Latin word "autumnus," which means “autumn”.4 “Autumnus” originates from an Etruscan word related to the Latin word, “augere,” meaning to increase. “Autumnus” was then translated from Latin to Old French word “autompne,” which was translated into English as “autumn.”3
Which one do you prefer for this season: autumn or fall? Share in the comments section below.
Winter is the fourth and coldest season of the year, characterized by the wind and snow.4 Winter, derived from the Proto-Germanic word “wentruz,” means winter. “Wentruz” originated from the Proto-Indo-European word “wed,” which means “wet.”1 Another probable origin is the Proto-Indo-European word “wind,” that means white. But, the Proto-Germanic word “Wentruz” gave birth to the old English word winter, and the name has been used ever since.3
This little article marks the end of our short history lesson, and you now know how the season names originated. We wish you a wonderful and cozy Winter, a delicious and satisfying Fall, a Summer full of sunlight, and a colorful Spring.