Thursday, February 06, 2014

Febyouary

Don't you think it odd that February, the shortest month in duration, has an extra letter, that quirky R, at least to the naked, etymologically untrained eye?

In case you are wondering how that R got into February, the estimable Online Etymology Dictionary ( http://www.etymonline.com/index.php ) tells us:

February (n.) Look up February at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Latin februarius mensis "month of purification," from februa "purifications, expiatory rites" (plural of februum), of unknown origin, said to be a Sabine word. The last month of the ancient (pre-450 B.C.E.) Roman calendar, so named in reference to the Roman feast of purification, held on the ides of the month. In Britain, replaced Old English solmonaĆ° "mud month." English first (c.1200) borrowed it from Old French Feverier, which yielded feoverel before a respelling to conform to Latin.

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