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[yool] /yul/
Christmas, or the Christmas season.
Origin of yule
before 900; Middle English yole, Old English geōl(a) Christmastide; cognate with Old Norse jōl; akin to Gothic jiuleis
Can be confused
you'll, yule. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for yule


(sometimes capital) (literary, archaic or dialect)
  1. Christmas, the Christmas season, or Christmas festivities
  2. (in combination): yuletide
Word Origin
Old English geōla, originally a name of a pagan feast lasting 12 days; related to Old Norse jōl, Swedish jul, Gothic jiuleis
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 yule

Old English geol, geola "Christmas Day, Christmastide," from Old Norse jol (plural), a heathen feast, later taken over by Christianity, of unknown origin.

The Old English (Anglian) cognate giuli was the Anglo-Saxons' name for a two-month midwinter season corresponding to Roman December and January, a time of important feasts but not itself a festival. After conversion to Christianity it narrowed to mean "the 12-day feast of the Nativity" (which began Dec. 25), but was replaced by Christmas by 11c., except in the northeast (areas of Danish settlement), where it remained the usual word.

Revived 19c. by writers to mean "the Christmas of 'Merrie England.' " First direct reference to the Yule log is 17c. Old Norse jol seems to have been borrowed in Old French as jolif, hence Modern French joli "pretty, nice," originally "festive" (see jolly).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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