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.