Autumn or Fall? Advanced English Study!

In English, the names of the 4 seasons are:

By National Aeronautics and Space Agency [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn.

Now it’s Fall, I mean Autumn. Wait, why does our current season have 2 names, Autumn and Fall? That’s a good question! Here is what I found out.

🍂The word Autumn, like many English words, has come from other languages. Autumn came from Old French and Latin. According to the article: 

🗣Why Do We Call the Seasons Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter?

“Autumn,” meanwhile, came to English via the Old French autompne, from the Latin autumnus.

So where did ‘Fall’ come from? According to some answers I found on Quora:
🗣What’s the difference between “fall” and “autumn”? Is there any difference between the two words?

Americans call the period from September to November “fall” because in America, that’s when the leaves of deciduous trees turn yellow and then fall off.

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 stay on the trees until December so Autumn is the natural choice. In Japan, my current home, the leaves stay on the trees much later due to the weather.


I thought this was interesting! All languages are interesting to me. Here is more info on English season names from


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.”

1 way to change an adjective to a verb is by adding the suffix ~en. In this quote, the word “shortened” is the past tense form of the verb shorten. It means to make something shorter, this is the verb form of the adjective short.

More on adjectives becoming verbs here: Link

Plants “springing” from the ground
Original source:
“no copyright infringement is intended”


 “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-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.



“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

…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.

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