September 22, 2012
- autumn (noun)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : the season between summer and winter including in the northern hemisphere usually the months of September, October, and November2 : a time of full maturity and the beginning of decline
- How do you use it?
- "It is a vast wilderness of rocks in a sea of light, colored and glowing like oak and maple woods in autumn, when the sun-gold is richest." (John Muir, _Steep Trails_)
- Are you a word wiz?
What language do you think "autumn" comes from?Since today is the first day of autumn, let's take a look at the word "autumn" and its synonym, "fall." "Autumn" traces back to the Latin word for the season, "autumnus." It was adopted into Middle English by the 14th century, first appearing as "autumpne" and eventually becoming "autumn." The word "fall" has its origins in English. We call the autumn season "fall" because of our association of autumn with the falling of the leaves. In fact, people referred to the season as "fall of the leaf." That phrase was eventually replaced by the simpler "fall," and ever since, we have used "fall" as a more informal means of describing the season in which the leaves fall from the trees.