Thursday, July 21, 2016

Lost In Translation: May

Wow, it’s been forever since I’ve done one of these! I was actually planning on doing the May origins back in (appropriately enough) May, but then I don’t know what happened. I just totally forgot about it.

Oh well! Here it is!

First of all, May the month isn’t related to may the word. Not even a little. The month first showed up in the early twelfth century from the Old French mai and classical Latin Majjus/Maius mensis. It’s thought to have come from the goddess Maia. Actually, there are two Maias, a Greek one that’s one of the Pleiades and a Roman one that’s the goddess of growth and spring, and over the years as Greek and Roman culture combined so did the two goddess. Or it might be from Maiesta, the Roman goddess of honor and reverence. Because things just weren’t confusing enough.

Now, before there was May in English, we obviously had to have another name for the fifth month. May used to be called Þrimilic, which would be pronounced “thrimilke”. Or…three milk. Nope, not making it up. May used to be called Three Milk, because apparently May used to be the only month where you could milk cows three times a day.

Come on. That’s way better than naming it for some goddess.

Omniglot []


  1. Well, you never cease to amaze me. I had never heard of that one. How interesting! And the best part of it is, I love cows! I don't know why, I've always been fascinated with them. Such a pity I was born in April and not May :)

  2. I was born in May, and I'm pretty happy I don't have to tell people my birthday is Three Milk 3rd.

  3. Three Milk would be an awesome name for a month! In fact, let's rename all the months for the odd little things you can do only in that month. :)

  4. Okay, it's now Three Milk forever more. Well, as long as I remember that. We'll see.

    I would totally tell you to do July, but we know where July comes from. (Julius Caesar.) A month I'm partial to. Because it contains my birthday. (Although, if I had been born just 9 hours later...)

  5. I wish it had stayed Thrimilke... I'd love to tell people my birthday is in Thrimilke. I may have to do that, just to really confuse people.


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