Yes, I’m really doing this. Being the first etymology day of the year, it seemed kind of appropriate.
Year can be traced back to the Old English gear (with a soft g sound), which is from the proto-Germanic jaeram. Jaeram can be traced even further back to Proto-Indo-European yer, which meant year or season. The word stuck in Germanic languages and is found in them today. German has Jahr, Dutch has jaar and Norwegian has ar.
However, other European languages haven’t kept it. French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italianhave variations of the Latin word for year, anno, not surprising considering they were part of the Roman Empire. Even English is not above Roman influence. Our annual is from the Latin annalis, an adjective form of annus, or year.
Even now there’s no escaping the Roman Empire.