General Science

  • noun the season of the year, following summer and before winter, when days become shorter and the weather progressively colder

Origin & History of “autumn”

English acquired autumn from Latin autumnus, partly via Old French autompne. where Latin got the word from is a mystery; it may have been a borrowing from Etruscan, a long-extinct pre-Roman language of the Italian peninsula. In Old English, the term for ‘autumn’ was harvest, and this remained in common use throughout the middle Ages; it was not until the 16th century that autumn really began to replace it (at the same time as harvest began to be applied more commonly to the gathering of crops). Fall, now the main US term for ‘autumn’, is 16th-century too.