No, I’m not referring to this. . .
I’m referring to a season. My favorite season!
Rarely do I read or hear the term “fall” from people who live outside of North America. When Skyping with friends from other parts of the world, I’ve sometimes had to clarify when using the word; so I tend to use it sparingly unless I’m interacting with people in my neck of the woods.
Out of curiosity, I did a little investigating and found this tidbit of information:
Changing colour to color can be blamed on American dictionary maker Noah Webster, but Fall for Autumn deserves another look.
Taking the vocabulary of Old English as a starting point, both Fall and Autumn as names for the season between summer and winter are late-comers. Fall derives from an Old English verb, but it wasn’t used as a noun to designate the season until the 16th century. This use most likely developed from the Middle English expression “fall of the leaf.” So what did Old English speakers call the season? Harvest.
The need for a new word arose from a population shift that made cities more important than farmland. From being a word for the season, harvest came to refer only to the agricultural event that occurs in that season.
Autumn as a word for the season came into common usage about the same time as Fall did. The English who settled the eastern American seaboard brought the word Fall with them from the homeland. The English who stayed home eventually adopted the word Autumn. Nowadays in England “Fall” sounds archaic and poetic, but in U.S. English “Autumn” has those connotations. Source
Apparently, etymologists have not determined the precise origin of the term Autumn. Sources state that it was used as far back as the 1300s. Shakespeare often used it, such as in Midsummer Night’s Dream when one of his characters describes the cycle of the year, “The spring, the summer, the childing autumn, angry winter.” I like both terms and use them interchangeably, but I think “Fall” provides a nice foil to its opposite season, “Spring”. It also serves to help me remember which direction to set the clocks during the time change — “spring forward, fall back”.
It’s the time of year when I feel light-footed, the most invigorated and creative.
It’s the time of the year when I get to sleep an extra hour when the time changes.
It’s the time of the year when I am seduced by candy corn and fragrant aromas . . .
cinnamon and ginger; nutmegs and cloves; hot cocoa and spiced cider.
The crisp morning air, soft sweaters and cuddling; the snap, crackle, pop coming from the fireplace. Btw . . .
It produces a hormone-neurotransmitter, oxytocin, which strengthens our social relations, and helps stave off a number of psychological and physiological problems as well.
I made a video over the weekend. I’m dedicating it to a blogging buddy. Carmen, thank you for your friendship. 🙂
Thanks for watching. When identifying this season, what term do you use most often? Autumn or Fall?