Thursday, March 1, 2018

Secret Origins: September

Honestly, I’m just relieved that I don’t have to do any more -leg posts. It got kind of exhausting after a while.

September, the ninth month, is of course named after the word for seven. I get that the Romans started their year in March so it would have been the seventh month then, but why is it still September?

Maybe we’ll find out today! But probably not because etymology is not a field of satisfying answers.

September comes from the classical Latin September, which is translated into English as… September. The first part comes from septem, which, obviously, means seven, while the -ber part is thought to be from the suffix -bris which doesn’t really have a meaning but was thought to be adjectival. Or it could be from membri, which in turn is from month []. It’s another one of those we don’t actually know things.

That’s kind of boring. Back in Old English, September used to be haerfestmonað or haligmonað, the former of which means harvest month and the latter of which means holy month. Both of which are way cooler than boring old September. Why aren’t we still using those? Stupid Romans, making everyone use their stupid calendar.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English


  1. Stupid Romans. Them and their crap gods, like Jeff the god of biscuits. (Bonus points if you know what that's from.)

  2. When you're king of the world...

    1. Not you, I meant that generically. Like the Romans were.

  3. Leave it to the Romans to still be messing things up for us 1600 years later.

  4. So, yesterday I was in an 8th grade English class, and every day she starts them off with a root word. Yesterday's was "mort". And after defining it and finding a word that belongs in a sentence, they're supposed to find other words with that root. A couple times that day, kiddos came up with mortgage. And I was able to tell them that, indeed, it was related (although I couldn't recall how off the top of my head).

    They also wanted to add Voldemort...


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