Definition of Lammas
1 : August 1 originally celebrated in England as a harvest festival —called also Lammas Day
2 : the time of the year around Lammas Day
Lammas was our Word of the Day on 08/01/2011. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
The word Lammas evolved from Old English "hlāfmæsse" (hlāf meaning "loaf" and mæssse meaning "mass"). It originated from the fact that on August first of each year, the early English church celebrated the harvesting of the first ripe grain by consecrating loaves made from it - hence, "loaf mass." Shakespeareans will be sure to add that the eve of Lammas is Juliet's birthday, as her nurse tells us in Romeo and Juliet, "Come Lammas Eve at night shall she be fourteen." In addition, the phrase "latter Lammas" was used humorously to refer to a day that will never come, as in "he will pay at latter Lammas."
Origin and Etymology of lammas
Middle English Lammasse, from Old English hlāfmæsse, from hlāf loaf, bread + mæsse mass; from the fact that formerly loaves from the first ripe grain were consecrated on this day
First Known Use: before 12th century
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