Word Origin & History
O.E. hærfest "autumn," from P.Gmc. *kharbitas (cf. O.S. hervist, Du. herfst, Ger. Herbst "autumn," O.N. haust "harvest"), from PIE *kerp- "to gather, pluck, harvest" (cf. Skt. krpana- "sword," krpani "shears;" Gk. karpos "fruit," karpizomai "make harvest of;" L. carpere "to cut, divide, pluck;"
Lith. kerpu "cut;" M.Ir. cerbaim "cut"). The borrowing of autumn and fall gradually focused its meaning after 14c. from "the time of gathering crops" to the action itself and the product of the action. Harvester "machine for reaping and binding" is from 1875; harvest home (1596) is the occasion of bringing home the last of the harvest; harvest moon (1706) is that which is full within a fortnight of the autumnal equinox.