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This blog is about the fascinating, fun, and challenging things about the English language. I hope to entertain you and to help you with problems or just questions you might have with spelling and usage. I go beyond just stating what is right and what is wrong, and provide some history or some tips to help you remember. Is something puzzling you? Feel free to email me at wordlady.barber@gmail.com.
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring has sprung!

Sunday marked the vernal equinox, the first day of spring. The season's name comes from the same “spring” which is the source of a river. From this original meaning, “spring” took on the sense of a beginning: dawn was “dayspring”, and the season marking the start of new life was “the spring of the leaf” or “the spring of the year”, quickly shortened to simply “spring”. “Equinox” comes from the Latin equi- (equal) and nox (night), as day and night are of equal length all over the globe. German is even more charmingly analytical, calling this phenomenon “Day-and-night-the-same”!

2 comments:

  1. Tagundnachtgleiche. Just had to go to Google Translate to follow up that last clue!

    ReplyDelete

About Me

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Canada's Word Lady, Katherine Barber is an expert on the English language and a frequent guest on radio and television. She was Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. Her witty and informative talks on the stories behind our words are very popular. Contact her at wordlady.barber@gmail.com to book her for speaking engagements; she can tailor her talks to almost any subject. She is also available as an expert witness for lawsuits.