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Fall versus Autumn

Updated on March 11, 2015

Which do you prefer to say: Autumn or fall?

Fall or Autumn?

Which one do you prefer? Which one is more common?

In US people like word fall. In Europe people prefer autumn. Choose your side here!

Personally I think word Autumn is more romantic and poetic.

Fall & autumn word history

Etymology in other words

The word Autumn comes from the Old French word autompne (automne in modern French), and was later normalized to the original Latin word autumnus. There are rare examples of its use as early as the 12th century, but it became common by the 16th century.

Before the 16th century, harvest has been the term usually used to refer to the season. However, as more people gradually moved from working the land to living in towns (especially those who could read and write, the only people whose use of language we now know), the word harvest lost its reference to the time of the year and came to refer only to the actual activity of reaping, and autumn, as well as fall, began to replace it as a reference to the season.

The alternative word Fall is now mostly a North American English word for the season. It traces its origins to old Germanic languages. The exact derivation is unclear, the Old English or feallan and the Old Norse fall all being possible candidates. However, these words all have the meaning "to fall from a height" and are clearly derived either from a common root or from each other. The term came to denote the season in 16th century England, a contraction of Middle English expressions like "fall of the leaf" and "fall of the year".

During the 17th century, English emigration to the British colonies in Noth America was at its peak, and the new settlers took the English language with them. While the term Fall gradually became obsolete in Britain, it became, the more common term in North America, where autumn is nonetheless preferred in scientific and often in literary contexts.

Your turn - ready 2 rumble?

Fall versus Autumn

Since 1997, Autumn has been one of the top 100 names for girls in the United States.

Autumn is also associated with the Halloween season (which in turn was influenced by Samhain, a Celtic autumn festival).

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thought-provoking. I enjoyed it!

    • profile image

      tssfacts 7 years ago

      Interesting debate. Either way it's a season that is full of beautiful colors.