Word Origin & History
late 14c., "the evening star," from O.Fr. vespre, from L. vesper (masc.), vespera (fem.) "evening star, evening, west," related to Gk. hesperos, and ultimately from PIE *wespero- (cf. O.C.S. večeru, Lith. vakaras, Welsh ucher, O.Ir. fescor "evening"), from base *we- "down" (cf. Skt. avah "down,
downward"). Meaning "evening" is attested from c.1600. Vespers "sixth canonical hour" is attested from 1610s, from pl. of L. vespera "evening;" the native name was evensong (O.E. æfen-sang). Hence also vespertine "of or pertaining to evening" (c.1500).