[feb-roo-er-ee, feb-yoo‐]
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

Many people try to pronounce February with both [r] sounds, as shown above. The common pronunciation [feb-yoo-er-ee] with the first [r] replaced by [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.
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World English Dictionary
February (ˈfɛbrʊərɪ)
n , pl -aries
the second month of the year, consisting of 28 or (in a leap year) 29 days
[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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., from L. februarius mensis "month of purification," from februa "purifications" (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 O.E. solmonað "mud month." English first (c.1200) borrowed it from O.Fr. Feverier, which yielded feoverel before a respelling to conform to Latin.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


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 Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences for February
Chuckwallas hibernate during cooler months and emerge in february.
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