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[feb-roo-er-ee, feb-yoo‐] /ˈfɛb ruˌɛr i, ˈfɛb yu‐/
noun, plural Februaries.
the second month of the year, ordinarily containing 28 days, but containing 29 days in leap years.
Abbreviation: Feb.
before 1000; Middle English; Old English Februarius < Latin Februārius (mēnsis) expiatory (month), derivative of februa (plural) expiatory offerings; see -ary
Pronunciation note
Many people try to pronounce February with both
[r] /r/ (Show IPA)
sounds, as shown above. The common pronunciation
[feb-yoo-er-ee] /ˈfɛb yuˌɛr i/
with the first [r] /r/ replaced by
[y] /y/
is the result of dissimilation, the tendency of like sounds to become unlike when they follow each other closely. An additional influence is analogy with January. Although sometimes criticized, this dissimilated pronunciation of February is used by educated speakers and is considered standard. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for February
  • Chuckwallas hibernate during cooler months and emerge in February.
British Dictionary definitions for February


noun (pl) -aries
the second month of the year, consisting of 28 or (in a leap year) 29 days
Word Origin
C13: from Latin Februārius mēnsis month of expiation, from februa Roman festival of purification held on February 15, from plural of februum a purgation
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for February

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 solmonað "mud month." English first (c.1200) borrowed it from Old French Feverier, which yielded feoverel before a respelling to conform to Latin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for February

second month of the Gregorian calendar. It was named after Februalia, the Roman festival of purification. Originally, February was the last month of the Roman calendar.

Learn more about February with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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