follow Dictionary.com

11 Trending Words of 2014

autumn

[aw-tuh m] /ˈɔ təm/
noun
1.
the season between summer and winter; fall. In the Northern Hemisphere it is from the September equinox to the December solstice; in the Southern Hemisphere it is from the March equinox to the June solstice.
2.
a time of full maturity, especially the late stages of full maturity or, sometimes, the early stages of decline:
to be in the autumn of one's life.
Origin
1325-1375
1325-75; < Latin autumnus; replacing Middle English autumpne < Middle French autompne < Latin
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for autumn
  • The needles turn yellow and fall in the late autumn, leaving the trees leafless through the winter.
  • In cold climates, plant in early spring for green shoots in summer, bulbs in autumn.
  • The summer deadline, set when talks began in earnest last autumn, is near.
  • Harvest season from late summer to early autumn is especially recommended, when roadside stands sell local produce.
  • What's more, trees produce the anthocyanin compounds found in leaves during the autumn season.
  • When autumn comes, they migrate south for the winter.
  • The dark patterns start in spring, fade in autumn and winter, and resume the following year.
  • But amidst the joys of autumn looms a menace: the inevitable start of cold season.
  • And the late-autumn and winter landscapes in which the action is set are piercingly lovely.
  • Piles of nuts from the autumn harvest entice the most avid snacker, and require no preparation on the part of the hostess.
British Dictionary definitions for autumn

autumn

/ˈɔːtəm/
noun
1.
(sometimes capital)
  1. Also called (esp US) fall. the season of the year between summer and winter, astronomically from the September equinox to the December solstice in the N hemisphere and from the March equinox to the June solstice in the S hemisphere
  2. (as modifier): autumn leaves
2.
a period of late maturity, esp one followed by a decline
Word Origin
C14: from Latin autumnus, perhaps of Etruscan origin
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for autumn
n.

late 14c., autumpne (modern form from 16c.), from Old French autumpne, automne (13c.), from Latin autumnus (also auctumnus, perhaps influenced by auctus "increase"), of unknown origin. Perhaps from Etruscan, but Tucker suggests a meaning "drying-up season" and a root in *auq- (which would suggest the form in -c- was the original) and compares archaic English sere-month "August."

Harvest was the English name for the season until autumn began to displace it 16c. In Britain, the season is popularly August through October; in U.S., September through November. Cf. Italian autunno, Spanish otoño, Portuguese outono, all from the Latin word. Unlike the other three seasons, its names across the Indo-European languages leave no evidence that there ever was a common word for it.

Many "autumn" words mean "end, end of summer," or "harvest." Cf. also Lithuanian ruduo "autumn," from rudas "reddish," in reference to leaves; Old Irish fogamar, literally "under-winter."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for autumn

season of the year between summer and winter during which temperatures gradually decrease. It is often called fall in the United States because leaves fall from the trees at that time. Autumn is usually defined in the Northern Hemisphere as the period between the autumnal equinox (day and night equal in length), September 22 or 23, and the winter solstice (year's shortest day), December 21 or 22; and in the Southern Hemisphere as the period between March 20 or 21 and June 21 or 22. The autumn temperature transition between summer heat and winter cold occurs only in middle and high latitudes; in equatorial regions, temperatures generally vary little during the year. In the polar regions autumn is very short. For physical causes of the seasons, see season.

Learn more about autumn with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for autumn

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for autumn

8
12
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with autumn