Thursday, December 8, 2016

Lost In Translation: June

Time for another month! At the rate I’m going, I’ll probably get to July sometime around next July.

June showed up as a word in the early fourteenth century—before that, the mont still existed, but in Old English it was liðe se ærra, which means something like “earlier mildness”. Which honestly makes more sense as a name, but maybe they just wanted something that was faster to spell. When people renamed the month, it could appear as June, Juin, or Iun, because J was originally the Y sound and the symbol came from I, and people were actually still using Iune up until the seventeenth century.

The word June comes from the classical Latin Iunius or Iunius mensis, which is just the month of June. Iunius is probably short for Iunonius, sacred to Juno, the Roman queen of the gods (kind of equivalent to the Greek Hera). So yeah, she got her own month. However there’s also a theory that May and June actually come from “majors” and “juniors”, referring to old and young men, respectively. Because of course they would need entire months dedicated to themselves.

Yeah, I prefer them being named after goddesses. Or the number of times a day you can milk a cow, like May used to be.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English


  1. Goddess sounds better. I wonder when the month became the name for a woman?

  2. If you look at how months and days got named, the major/junior thing makes NO sense at all. Sounds like white male privilege trying to be make even more out of itself.

  3. Names aren't supposed to make sense. Just look at what we consider to be names for people.

  4. I like the gods and goddesses too. Makes more sense, y'know?

  5. I prefer them being named after goddesses.


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