Dictionary

February

noun Feb·ru·ary \ˈfe-b(y)ə-ˌwer-ē, ˈfe-brə-\

: the second month of the year

plural Feb·ru·ar·ies or Feb·ru·ar·ys

Full Definition of FEBRUARY

:  the second month of the Gregorian calendar

Usage Discussion of FEBRUARY



Dissimilation may occur when a word contains two identical or closely related sounds, resulting in the change or loss of one of them. This happens regularly in February, which is more often pronounced \ˈfe-b(y)ə-ˌwer-ē\ than \ˈfe-brə-ˌwer-ē\, though all of these variants are in frequent use and widely accepted. The \y\ heard from many speakers is not an intrusion but rather a common pronunciation of the vowel u after a consonant, as in January and annual.
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Origin of FEBRUARY

Middle English Februarie, from Old English Februarius, from Latin, from Februa, plural, feast of purification
First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Calendar Terms

antedate, estival, gloaming, luster, sesquicentennial

Rhymes with FEBRUARY

actuary, adversary, airy-fairy, ancillary, antiquary, apiary, arbitrary, aviary, axillary, bacillary, beriberi, bestiary, biliary, black raspberry, Bloody Mary, boysenberry, breviary, budgetary, calamari, calamary, candleberry, Canterbury, capillary, carpellary, cassowary, catenary, cautionary, cavitary, cemetery, centenary, certiorari, checkerberry, chinaberry, cometary, commentary, commissary, condottiere, coralberry, corollary, coronary, culinary, customary, dictionary, dietary, dignitary, dromedary, dysentery, elderberry, emissary, estuary, farkleberry, formulary, fragmentary, fritillary, functionary, funerary, honorary, huckleberry, intermarry, janissary, January, lamasery, lapidary, lectionary, legendary, legionary, lingonberry, literary, loganberry, luminary, mammillary, mandatary, maxillary, medullary, mercenary, miliary, military, millenary, milliary, millinery, missionary, momentary, monastery, mortuary, necessary, ordinary, ossuary, partridgeberry, pensionary, pigmentary, planetary, Pondicherry, prebendary, presbytery, pulmonary, quaternary, red mulberry, reliquary, rowanberry, salivary, salmonberry, salutary, sanctuary, sanguinary, sanitary, secondary, secretary, sedentary, seminary, silverberry, solitary, sour cherry, stationary, stationery, statuary, subcontrary, sublunary, sugarberry, sumptuary, syllabary, temporary, tertiary, thimbleberry, Tipperary, Tom and Jerry, topiary, tributary, tutelary, Typhoid Mary, unitary, urinary, vestiary, Virgin Mary, visionary, voluntary, vulnerary, Waterbury, whortleberry, winterberry
FEBRUARIES Defined for Kids

February

noun Feb·ru·ary \ˈfe-byə-ˌwer-ē, ˈfe-brə-, ˈfe-bə-\

Definition of FEBRUARY for Kids

:  the second month of the year

Word History of FEBRUARY

In the ancient Roman calendar March was originally the first month of the year and hence February was the last. The last weeks of the year were a time when people made up for their wrongdoing to the gods and purifications were performed. These rituals were called februa in Latin, and from them the month took its name, Februarius. English has taken the name from Latin.

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