Vocabulary Related to Months of the Year in English

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Mastering the English language is not just about learning grammar and vocabulary. It also involves understanding cultural nuances, such as how we talk about time. This article will cover everything related to the months of the year, including their origins, idiomatic expressions, and scheduling terms. 

The Months of the Year

Understanding the months is a basic yet vital part of English proficiency. The Gregorian calendar, the most widely used today, has twelve months. Below is a list of all months, their origins, and a brief description.

  • January: Abbreviation - Jan. The first month of the year, named after the Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions.
  • February: Abbreviation - Feb. Named after the Latin term februum, which means purification. It reflects the rituals performed in ancient Rome mid-month.
  • March: Abbreviation - Mar. This is named after Mars, the Roman god of war. March was originally the first month of the Roman calendar.
  • April: Abbreviation - Apr. Its name comes from the Latin word 'Aperire', which means 'to open,' probably referencing flowers opening in spring.
  • May: Abbreviation - None. Named after Maia, the Greek goddess of fertility. In the ancient Roman calendar, it was the third month.
  • June: Abbreviation - Jun. This month was named after Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage and childbirth.
  • July: Abbreviation - Jul. Named in honor of Julius Caesar. July is the seventh month of the year.
  • August: Abbreviation - Aug. Named after Augustus Caesar, the first Roman Emperor.
  • September: Abbreviation - Sept. From the Latin word "septem," meaning seven. In the ancient Roman calendar, it was the seventh month.
  • October: Abbreviation - Oct. Its name originates from the Latin "octo," meaning eight. It was the eighth month in the ancient Roman calendar.
  • November: Abbreviation - Nov. Named after the Latin "novem," meaning nine. It was the ninth month in the ancient Roman calendar.
  • December: Abbreviation - Dec. Comes from the Latin "decem," meaning ten. It was the tenth month in the ancient Roman calendar.

It looks like such a question as “What month number is July?" is obvious, but this knowledge is an integral part of daily communication. It’s vital to quickly navigate through months while planning a working schedule, holidays, and important events.

The months of the year provide more than just a system to organize our time; they are a gateway to understanding culture, history, and linguistic nuances. Each month carries its unique origin, shedding light on the rich tapestry of human civilization. So, as you continue learning, remember that every month of the year has a story to tell, and understanding these stories can enrich your language skills tremendously.


Expressions Related to Monthly Events and Activities

When interacting in English, you will encounter various phrases and expressions that reference the months in a year. Let's look at some of the most commonly used expressions related to monthly events and activities:

  • A month of Sundays: Describes a long period of time, despite the phrase suggesting it's about a month.
  • Make hay in May: This means to take advantage of favorable conditions while they last, originally referring to farming practices in the month of May.
  • Until the twelfth of never: An idiomatic expression implying something will never happen since there is no 'twelfth' month in the year.

The more familiar you become with this vocabulary, the easier it will be for you to understand conversations about the months in a year, schedule appointments, and comprehend idioms or phrases related to all months.

Monthly Scheduling Expressions

Scheduling is a crucial part of everyday life, and there are specific terms in English related to monthly scheduling. Here are some that you might find useful:

  • Bi-monthly: Happening every two months or twice a month.
  • Month-to-month: Something happening or changing from one month to the next, often referring to contracts or rental agreements.
  • Every other month: This means something occurs once in two months.
  • Quarterly: An event or activity that happens every three months.
  • Semi-annually/Bi-annually: Both terms refer to something that happens twice a year.
  • Month-end: Refers to the last few days of the month. It's frequently used in business and finance contexts.
  • Month-long: An event or activity that lasts for the entire duration of a month.
  • Month by month: This phrase implies something is happening in a gradual or sequential manner from one month to the next.

It's important to note how the words 'month' and 'months' get used differently in various contexts. For example, when someone asks, "what month is it," they are asking about the current month of the year. On the other hand, "the months" usually refer to a period lasting several months.

Idioms and Fun Phrases Involving Months of the Year

English is full of colorful idioms and phrases, many of which involve months of the year. Understanding these will make your conversational English more natural and engaging. Here are some expressions for your vocabulary:

  • "As cold as a January morning": This expression is used to describe something very cold, referencing the frigid weather often experienced in January.
  • "Mad as a March hare": To be very crazy or silly. The phrase comes from the observed antics of hares during their spring mating season.
  • "A long, hot summer": Often used metaphorically, it refers to a prolonged period of tension or unrest.
  • "Be an April fool": To be tricked or pranked on April 1st, known as April Fools' Day.
  • "Christmas in July": Celebrating Christmas-style festivities in the summer month of July.
  • “To be in the January of one's life”: This means to be at the early stages of one's life.
  • “An August presence”: Refers to someone with a commanding or imposing presence, drawing a parallel with the revered Augustus Caesar.
  • “March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers”: This old saying talks about the transition of seasons and describes how good times always go after bad once.
  • "In the merry month of May": This is often used to describe a happy, carefree time, as May is associated with spring and blossoming flowers in many cultures.
  • "An Indian summer": A period of unusually dry, warm weather occurring in late autumn, usually after the first frost. Despite not referring to a specific month, it typically happens in late September or October.

Idioms and fun phrases involving months of the year are an interesting facet of the English language. These phrases often paint vivid pictures and provide cultural insights into the ways seasons and months are perceived. Understanding and using these idioms will not only add color to your conversations but also deepen your understanding of the nuances of English. Remember, language learning is a journey that goes month by month, but with every phrase learned, you're one step closer to mastery.


Getting a grasp on the English language extends beyond understanding the 12 months. It also entails knowing the origins of each month of the year, idiomatic expressions involving the months, and terms for scheduling activities. This foundational knowledge will certainly enhance your English communication skills, enabling you to engage in conversations more fluently and naturally. 

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ArturoMar 21st, 2024
a masterful presentation of vocabulary ✌️
jace hydeNov 9th, 2023
i appreciate the inclusion of pronunciation guides, which help me accurately pronounce the names of the months