Before bed one night, while we were waiting for his sister to finish washing her face and brushing her teeth, my son and I were coming up with silly reasons for each season’s name.
It began with the easy-to-determine fall. “Hey!” Rowyn said, “I bet it’s because of when the leaves fall.” I assured him that was, indeed, the reason. “Then what about winter?” he asked.
I thought for a moment, and then said, “Because that’s when all the leaves already wint.”
He laughed at my deliberate mispronunciation of went and said, “So how about spring?”
Another real answer. “It’s when new life springs forth. But for summer…?”
Rowyn thought for a little while then said, “I know! It’s when the school year is all summed up.”
Aren’t we just the cleverest things. 😉 I’ve already looked into the real etymologies of pretty much all those season words, but it occurs to me that I’ve never looked up season itself! So a quick lesson.
The English word (which has been in use since English itself originated, in the 13th century) comes directly from the French saison, which means exactly what the English does–“a period of the year; the appropriate time.” But if you trace saison back, it comes in fact from the Latin sationem, which literally means, “to sow, to plant.” In the days of Vulgar Latin, the word was used most often to indicate spring, when said sowing and planting was done. It was the French who broadened it to mean any season, and we of course borrowed that from them.