plural Februaries or Februarys
: the second month of the Gregorian calendar
How do you pronounce February?: Usage Guide

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.

Examples of February in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Carano sued in February, arguing that the company unlawfully retaliated against her for expressing her personal political views, which were at odds with Disney’s preferred ideology. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 10 Apr. 2024 In February, the Board of County Commissioners in Union County, whose seat is Monroe, voted 3-2 to stop adding fluoride to drinking water at the Yadkin River Water Treatment Plant, the only water source wholly owned and operated by the county. Melba Newsome, USA TODAY, 10 Apr. 2024 This new leg kicks off September 20 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and wraps up February 26 in Buffalo, New York. Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, 10 Apr. 2024 The first Borderlands trailer, released in February, revealed some Guardians of the Galaxy vibes for the movie. Aaron Couch, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Apr. 2024 In February, pilots on a United Airlines 737 Max reported that the flight controls jammed as the plane landed in Newark, New Jersey. David Goldman, CNN, 10 Apr. 2024 In February, Israeli commandos freed two hostages in Rafah in southern Gaza in a rescue operation that killed at least 67 Palestinians. Shira Rubin, Washington Post, 10 Apr. 2024 In February, the UK government backed tighter guidance to keep children from using their smartphones at school. Matt Reynolds, WIRED, 29 Mar. 2024 In February, three insiders cut back their holdings. Gurufocus, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'February.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English Februarie, from Old English Februarius, from Latin, from Februa, plural, feast of purification

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of February was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near February

Cite this Entry

“February.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/February. Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: the second month of the year

Old English Februarius "February," from Latin Februarius "February," literally, "of Februa," from Februa "feast of cleansing"

Word Origin
Every winter the ancient Romans would celebrate a festival of spiritual cleansing. The name of the festival was Februa. Because of its importance the Romans named the month in which it fell Februarius, which means "of Februa." The English name February comes from the Latin Februarius.

More from Merriam-Webster on February

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