noun, plural Januaries.
the first month of the year, containing 31 days. Abbreviation: Jan.

before 1000; Middle English < Latin, noun use of Jānuārius, equivalent to Jānu(s) Janus + -ārius -ary; replacing Middle English Genever, Jeniver < Anglo-French, Old French Genever, Jenever < Latin, as above; replacing Old English Januarius < Latin

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To january
World English Dictionary
January (ˈdʒænjʊərɪ)
n , pl -aries
the first month of the year, consisting of 31 days
[C14: from Latin Jānuārius, from adj: (month) of Janus1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

late 13c., Ieneuer, from O.N.Fr. Genever (Fr. Janvier), attested from early 12c. in Anglo-Fr., from L. Januarius (mensis) "(the month) of Janus," to whom the month was sacred as the beginning of the year (see Janus; cf. It. Gennajo, Prov. Genovier, Port. Janeiro). The form
was gradually Latinized by c.1400. Replaced O.E. geola se æfterra "Later Yule."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


first month of the Gregorian calendar. It was named after Janus, the Roman god of all beginnings. January replaced March as the first month of the Roman year no later than 153 BCE.

Learn more about January with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature