Thursday, August 17, 2017

Lost In Translation: August

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. And hey, it’s in the right month for it!

August showed up in the late eleventh century from the classical Latin Augustus mensis, month of August. Like most of the months, August used to have another name. While the Romans once called it Sextilis (because back then it was the sixth month of the year), in Old English it used to be weodmonað, which translates to weed month. I cannot begin to describe how amusing I find that. We may finally have something that beats Threemilk.

Of course we all know that the Romans named the month after Augustus Caesar. That pretty much falls under the realm of common knowledge. It happened during 8 BCE, and was changed because apparently a lot of good things happened to him this month. But August wasn’t his real name. He changed it to that because he literally wanted to call himself venerable. Not really a surprise that a Caesar would want to call himself that. And it is where we get the word august, though we don’t really use it that much anymore. But it’s related to augment and that’s still popular.

I wonder how famous you have to be to get a month named after you…

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English


  1. I think you have to be Roman.

    And don't tell people about that weed month thing!

  2. July and August seem to be it. Oh, and the whole January thing, but that was a god, right?

    Something I thought you might find interesting: (although, you might have seen it already...)

  3. Weed month, huh? Break out the munchies.


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