What are the English names for the Four Seasons? Spring Summer Autumn/Fall Winter. The words 🌸Spring and 🌞Summer come from Old English. ⛄Winter comes from old German and Autumn comes from old Latin. 🍂Fall is primarily used in North America. It’s the season when leaves fall from the trees.
The FOUR SEASONS name origins – Autumn or Fall?
|🍂FALL||North America||The season when the leaves FALL from the trees|
|🍂AUTUMN||Old French/Latin||French “autompne” and Latin “autumnus” became AUTUMN|
|⛄WINTER||Proto-Germanic||The Proto-Germanic word “wentruz” became WINTER|
|🌞SUMMER||Old English||The Old English word “sumor” became SUMMER|
|🌸SPRING||Old English||In the 14th century, this time of year was called “SPRINGing time”|
We have four seasons and they continue in an endless cycle.
Spring is the season of rebirth and renewal, plants come back to life and some animals wake up from a long winter’s rest. Next comes Summer, the warmest of the seasons, followed by Autumn, the time of year when many fruits and vegetables are harvested. Winter is the final season and it’s the coldest. After Winter comes Spring to begin the cycle again.
September to November is Fall in my home country, Canada, and my new home, Japan. Sorry, I mean it’s Autumn. Wait, which one is correct? Autumn or Fall?
Did you ever wonder why this season has 2 names in English? I did. Have you ever wondered where the season names came from? Me too. I did some research and this post will share what I found out. We will also learn some other helpful English vocabulary along the way. (This is a great lesson for Intermediate/Advanced ESL students)
Let’s begin with when the seasons happen which is not the same everywhere on Earth.
For the Northern hemisphere, the seasons happen in these months:
In the Southern hemisphere, the seasons are reversed.
*The schedule is not exactly the same for every culture and country, just as weather and tradition are different in every country.
Why Do We Call the Seasons Spring, Summer, Autumn/Fall, and Winter?
- Spring – Name origin
- Summer – Name origin
- Fall/Autumn – Name origins
- Winter – Name origin
- Four Seasons Infographic
- Four Seasons Video
Before Spring was called Spring, it was called Lent in Old English. Starting in the 14th century, that time of year was called “springing time”—a reference to plants “springing” from the ground. In the 15th century this got shortened to “spring-time,” and then further shortened in the 16th century to just “spring.”
Plants are “springing” from the ground
Original source: https://giphy.com/gifs/timelapse-plant-growing- QhLi1PvRCMxsQ “no copyright infringement is intended”
In this quote, the word “shortened” is the past tense form of the verb shorten.
“springing” … got shortened to “spring-time,”
Shorten means to make something shorter, this is the verb form of the adjective short. One way to change an adjective to a verb is by adding the suffix ~en.
“Summer” came from the Old English name for that time of year, sumor. This, in turn, came from the Proto-Germanic sumur-, which itself came from the Proto-Indo-European root sam- (sam- seems to be a variant of the Proto-Indo-European sem-, meaning “together / one”).
Proto means – original; from which others develop.
A prototype is the first design of something from which other forms are copied or developed
Proto-Germanic is the original form of the German language. Proto-Germanic is not exactly the same as the modern German language.
Proto-Indo-European is an ancient language on which all Indo-European languages are thought to be based. *The origin of modern Indian and European languages.
The word Autumn, like many English words, has come from other, older languages. Autumn came from Old French and Latin. According to the article at Mental Floss dot com:
“Autumn,” meanwhile, came to English via the Old French autompne, from the Latin autumnus.
French and Latin were used to create the English word Autumn. Great. What about Fall? Where did ‘Fall‘ come from? I could see that my work was not done. I had to do some more research.
Autumn Or Fall? I visited the Question and Answer website Quora and here is what I found.
What’s the difference between “fall” and “autumn“? Is there any difference between the two words?
Americans (and Canadians) call the period from September to November “fall” because in North America, that’s when the leaves of many trees turn yellow, red, and orange and then fall off the tree.From Quora (slightly edited by me) https://www.quora.com/Whats-the-difference-between-fall-and-autumn-Is-there-any-difference-between-the-two-words
So, Fall is used mainly in North America, but not really in England. I’m Canadian so I often use Fall but in England, the leaves don’t fall off the trees until December. Autumn is the natural choice for the British because the leaves stay on the trees until winter begins. In Tokyo, my current home, the leaves also stay on the trees much later due to the weather.
Question Do all trees lose their leaves when the weather gets cold?
Trees that lose their leaves in the Fall/Autumn season are called deciduous. Examples of deciduous trees are Maple, Oak, and Beech trees.
Pronunciation – deciduous > DEE-SID-YOU-US
Click this link for the audio for deciduous.
In Canada, we have lots of deciduous trees so Fall is a beautiful time. In fact, the Maple tree is an important piece of our culture. The Canadian flag is white with two red bars on the sides and a red Maple leaf in the center. Fun fact – Canada produces over 80% of the world’s Maple syrup!
Some trees don’t lose their leaves in the Fall/Autumn season. Examples of these trees are Pine trees like Fir and Spruce. Trees that stay green all year are called evergreen. (They are always green.)
Evergreen trees are often used as Christmas decorations in the West. I remember traveling out to a Christmas tree farm every December with my Dad. We would cut down a tree to display in our house during the holidays. The living room always had a nice Pine smell during the Christmas season.
The history of common English words is very interesting to me. (All languages are interesting to me.) Here is more info on English season names from MentalFloss.com
“Winter,” meanwhile, derives from the Proto-Germanic wentruz. This, in turn, probably comes from the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) wed, meaning “wet,” or it may come from the PIE wind-, meaning “white.” Either way, the Proto-Germanic wentruz gave rise to the Old English “winter” as the fourth season of the year, and the name for the season has stuck around ever since.
give rise to something – (formal) to cause something to happen or exist
“Daily shaving can give rise to a number of skin problems.”
This sentence is quite formal.
“Daily shaving can cause skin problems.”
This sentence is more casual. I would use this sentence in conversation.
…the Proto-Germanic wentruz gave rise to the Old English “winter”…
~ The use of the Proto-Germanic word wentruz caused the word winter to be used in Old English.
The Old English word winter has not changed, even though much of the Old English has changed into the modern English. Modern English is the language we use now.
Autumn Or Fall? Conclusion
English is spoken as a first language in several countries. Each country has its own version of some words. We learned in this post that Autumn and Fall both mean the season after Summer, but leaves “falling” from trees has helped a new word to form in North America. Australia, New Zealand and South Africa don’t have a cold winter like Canada and America so I bet they don’t say Fall either.
Four Seasons Video
How about where you live? Do the leaves fall off the trees when the weather gets cool? Tell me in the comment section below.
4 Seasons Infographic
Check out these other great English blog posts!
- How to Use the prepositions IN AT ON (Graphics, Story, Videos)
- Put Something Up or Out? (An ESL Teacher has your Answer)
- Are you Tired OF something or Tired FROM something? (Quiz)
- Thick and Thin – Comparative and Superlative (Video + PDF)
- Autumn Or Fall? 4 Season Names (Learn their origins HERE)
- BORROW vs LEND – Your best guide (25 real examples + PDF)
- Doesn’t have or has? Learn FAST with 30 examples (free PDF)