文章来源:未知 文章作者:enread 发布时间:2016-01-28 06:45 字体: [ ]  进入论坛
January is named after the Roman god Janus, who presided over doors and beginnings - appropriately enough, for the beginning of the year (though this is, as you will discover, not as straightforward1 as it seems). Indeed, Janus was usually depicted2 with two faces looking backwards3 and forwards, as is often characteristic of a new year; this also gave rise to the term Janus word for words that have two opposite meanings.
February is ultimately based on Latin februarius, from februa. In case that's not helped things become clearer, februa was the name of a purification feast held on the 15th of this month. February is a divisive issue in modern pronunciation, with both Feb-yoo-ary and Feb-roo-ary being commonly heard.
Which god gets a planet and a month named after him? You've guessed it: Mars. Why him? As the Oxford4 English Dictionary notes, 'In ancient Rome several festivals of Mars took place in March, presumably in preparation for the campaigning season, since Mars was a god of war.'
We know that the English word April comes from the Latin Aprillis, the fourth month of the ancient Roman calendar, but things are less clear after that. In Old English, April was also sometimes called Eastermonab, 'Easter month'.
The month is connected with the goddess Maia. Perhaps less well known now than the other deities5 with months named after them, Maia (in Greek mythology) was daughter of Atlas6 and mother of Hermes. She was considered a nurturer7 and an earth goddess, which may explain the connection with this springtime month. Although may is a common modal verb, the month and the word are unrelated.
Having conceded one month to a Greek deity8, we're now back with the Romans: June is named after the ancient Roman goddess Juno, wife of Jupiter and goddess of marriage and childbirth. June was also once sometimes known as midsummer month.
The first month in the calendar named after a real person, July was named in honour of Julius Caesar after his death in 44 BC, July being the month of his birth. Before it was renamed, the month was known as Quintilis (borrowed into English as Quintile), which means 'fifth'. If you've been counting, you'll know that July isn't the fifth month: we'll come on to that when we reach September and October.
Following suit, in 8 BC, the month Sextilis ('sixth') was renamed after Augustus, the first Roman emperor, who had died six years earlier. Augustus himself was given this title when he became emperor, having previously9 been known as Octavian. It came from the Latin augustus meaning 'consecrated10, venerable' which gave rise to the English adjective august, 'respected and impressive'.
September follows on from Quinitlis and Sextilis, in that it comes from the Latin septem, 'seven'. As with those (and the rest of the calendar), the numbering is a bit off now: September was originally the seventh month in an ancient Roman ten-month calendar, which started with March.
More of the same: octo is the Latin for 'eight', for that ten month calendar. Two months were added to the end of the calendar year around 713 BC, and the beginning of the year was moved to 1 January in 153 BC.
The pattern continues: November comes from novem, 'nine'. November is also, we're afraid, used 'with allusion11 to November's position at the end of the year, and to the characteristic greyness, gloominess, etc., associated with it in the northern hemisphere'. The earliest known example of this allusive12 use comes from Jane Austen's posthumously13 published novel Persuasion14.
And we finish off the year with December, from decem, 'ten'. The month also comes with a brace15 of adjectives: Decemberish and Decemberly, the latter of which can also be used as an adverb. And there you have it: a whole calendar year of etymologies16 to see you through the whole of 2016.


1 straightforward fFfyA     
  • A straightforward talk is better than a flowery speech.巧言不如直说。
  • I must insist on your giving me a straightforward answer.我一定要你给我一个直截了当的回答。
2 depicted f657dbe7a96d326c889c083bf5fcaf24     
描绘,描画( depict的过去式和过去分词 ); 描述
  • Other animals were depicted on the periphery of the group. 其他动物在群像的外围加以修饰。
  • They depicted the thrilling situation to us in great detail. 他们向我们详细地描述了那激动人心的场面。
3 backwards BP9ya     
  • He turned on the light and began to pace backwards and forwards.他打开电灯并开始走来走去。
  • All the girls fell over backwards to get the party ready.姑娘们迫不及待地为聚会做准备。
4 Oxford Wmmz0a     
  • At present he has become a Professor of Chemistry at Oxford.他现在已是牛津大学的化学教授了。
  • This is where the road to Oxford joins the road to London.这是去牛津的路与去伦敦的路的汇合处。
5 deities f904c4643685e6b83183b1154e6a97c2     
n.神,女神( deity的名词复数 );神祗;神灵;神明
  • Zeus and Aphrodite were ancient Greek deities. 宙斯和阿佛洛狄是古希腊的神。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Taoist Wang hesitated occasionally about these transactions for fearof offending the deities. 道士也有过犹豫,怕这样会得罪了神。 来自汉英文学 - 现代散文
6 atlas vOCy5     
  • He reached down the atlas from the top shelf.他从书架顶层取下地图集。
  • The atlas contains forty maps,including three of Great Britain.这本地图集有40幅地图,其中包括3幅英国地图。
7 nurturer be9b4c036d8c24529e94b125523e78be     
8 deity UmRzp     
  • Many animals were seen as the manifestation of a deity.许多动物被看作神的化身。
  • The deity was hidden in the deepest recesses of the temple.神藏在庙宇壁龛的最深处。
9 previously bkzzzC     
  • The bicycle tyre blew out at a previously damaged point.自行车胎在以前损坏过的地方又爆开了。
  • Let me digress for a moment and explain what had happened previously.让我岔开一会儿,解释原先发生了什么。
10 consecrated consecrated     
adj.神圣的,被视为神圣的v.把…奉为神圣,给…祝圣( consecrate的过去式和过去分词 );奉献
  • The church was consecrated in 1853. 这座教堂于1853年祝圣。
  • They consecrated a temple to their god. 他们把庙奉献给神。 来自《简明英汉词典》
11 allusion CfnyW     
  • He made an allusion to a secret plan in his speech.在讲话中他暗示有一项秘密计划。
  • She made no allusion to the incident.她没有提及那个事件。
12 allusive sLjyp     
  • Allusive speech is characterized by allusions.含沙射影的演讲以指桑骂槐为特征。
  • Her allusive style is difficult to follow.她引经据典的风格晦涩难懂。
13 posthumously posthumously     
  • He was confirmed posthumously as a member of the Chinese Communist Party. 他被追认为中国共产党党员。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Her last book was published posthumously in 1948. 她最后的一本书在她死后于1948 年出版了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
14 persuasion wMQxR     
  • He decided to leave only after much persuasion.经过多方劝说,他才决定离开。
  • After a lot of persuasion,she agreed to go.经过多次劝说后,她同意去了。
15 brace 0WzzE     
n. 支柱,曲柄,大括号; v. 绷紧,顶住,(为困难或坏事)做准备
  • My daughter has to wear a brace on her teeth. 我的女儿得戴牙套以矫正牙齿。
  • You had better brace yourself for some bad news. 有些坏消息,你最好做好准备。
16 etymologies 6f292fde1f3fc43d77e3ff69791e2fae     
n.词源学,词源说明( etymology的名词复数 )
  • This dictionary does not give etymologies. 这部词典不介绍词源。 来自辞典例句
  • Dictionaries are still good for obscure usages and etymologies. 字典依然擅长于不常用的用法和词源。 来自互联网
TAG标签: year name month