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[win-ter] /ˈwɪn tər/
the cold season between autumn and spring in northern latitudes (in the Northern Hemisphere from the winter solstice to the vernal equinox; in the Southern Hemisphere from the summer solstice to the autumnal equinox).
the months of December, January, and February in the U.S., and of November, December, and January in Great Britain.
cold weather:
a touch of winter in northern Florida.
the colder half of the year (opposed to summer).
a whole year as represented by this season:
a man of sixty winters.
a period like winter, as the last or final period of life; a period of decline, decay, inertia, dreariness, or adversity.
of, relating to, or characteristic of winter:
a winter sunset.
(of fruit and vegetables) of a kind that may be kept for use during the winter.
planted in the autumn to be harvested in the spring or early summer:
winter rye.
verb (used without object)
to spend or pass the winter:
to winter in Italy.
to keep, feed, or manage during the winter, as plants or cattle:
plants wintering indoors.
Origin of winter
before 900; (noun) Middle English, Old English; cognate with German Winter, Old Norse vetr, Gothic wintrus; (v.) Middle English, derivative of the noun; akin to wet, water
Related forms
winterer, noun
winterish, adjective
winterishly, adverb
winterless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for winter
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But he was just out of the den after his long winter sleep and savage with hunger.

    The House in the Water Charles G. D. Roberts
  • winter was near and he had no money to buy cloaks for his children.

    Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon
  • Glennard felt that he could not trust himself to a winter's solitude with her.

    The Touchstone Edith Wharton
  • The winter has been trying; there is rain one day, frost the next.

    Ballads of a Bohemian Robert W. Service
  • It grows well on land which may be submerged several weeks in winter.

    American Forest Trees Henry H. Gibson
British Dictionary definitions for winter


  1. (sometimes capital) the coldest season of the year, between autumn and spring, astronomically from the December solstice to the March equinox in the N hemisphere and at the opposite time of year in the S hemisphere
  2. (as modifier): winter pasture
the period of cold weather associated with the winter
a time of decline, decay, etc
(mainly poetic) a year represented by this season: a man of 72 winters, related adjectives brumal hibernal hiemal
(intransitive) to spend the winter in a specified place
to keep or feed (farm animals, etc) during the winter or (of farm animals) to be kept or fed during the winter
Derived Forms
winterer, noun
winterish, winter-like, adjective
winterless, adjective
Word Origin
Old English; related to Old Saxon, Old High German wintar, Old Norse vetr, Gothic wintrus
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
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Word Origin and History for winter

Old English, "fourth season of the year," from Proto-Germanic *wentruz (cf. Old Frisian, Dutch winter, Old Saxon, Old High German wintar, German winter, Danish and Swedish vinter, Gothic wintrus, Old Norse vetr "winter"), possibly from PIE *wed-/*wod-/*ud- "wet" (see water), or from *wind- "white" (cf. Celtic vindo- "white").

The Anglo-Saxons counted years in "winters," cf. Old English ænetre "one-year-old." Old Norse Vetrardag, first day of winter, was the Saturday that fell between Oct. 10 and 16.


"to pass the winter (in some place)," late 14c., from winter (n.). Related: Wintered; wintering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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