ver·​nal ˈvər-nᵊl How to pronounce vernal (audio)
: of, relating to, or occurring in the spring
vernal equinox
vernal sunshine
: fresh or new like the spring
also : youthful
vernally adverb

Did you know?

If you want to sound sophisticated this spring, you can do what various learned individuals have done since the 16th century and refer to the spring equinox as the vernal equinox. You might also alter a classic rhyme to chant "Vernal showers bring May flowers." Or if you really want to wax poetic, you could compliment your lass's vernal grace or your beau's vernal charm. If you do, and your sweetheart asks where such a word comes from, you can further impress by saying, "'Vernal,' my dear, comes from the Latin 'vernalis,' which is derived from the Latin word for spring, 'ver.'"

Examples of vernal in a Sentence

trees and flowers in vernal bloom
Recent Examples on the Web The odds also tend to increase around equinoxes — the vernal equinox occurred last week — due to a more favorable tilt in the Earth’s axis, Murtagh said. Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times, 24 Mar. 2024 The date is different every year and falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox, also called the Paschal Full Moon. Grace Tucker, The Enquirer, 20 Mar. 2024 Tuesday, March 19 at 11:06 p.m. EDT marked the vernal equinox for the Northern Hemisphere, when the sun was directly over the equator and its energy was in balance between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, according to the National Weather Service. Caitlin O'Kane, CBS News, 20 Mar. 2024 According to Time, Nowruz is celebrated on the vernal equinox, or the spring equinox. Julia Gomez, USA TODAY, 19 Mar. 2024 Here's everything to know about the start of spring and the vernal equinox. Victoria Moorwood, The Enquirer, 14 Mar. 2024 What is the difference between spring equinox and vernal equinox? The Arizona Republic, 9 Mar. 2024 In the Northern Hemisphere, the vernal, or spring equinox is March 19, marking the start of the spring season. USA TODAY, 4 Mar. 2024 This month’s vernal equinox—when the length of the day and night are the same everywhere in the world—creates the cosmic conditions for more intense and frequent northern lights (aurora borealis). Jamie Carter, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024

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

Word History


borrowed from Latin vernālis, from vernus "of spring" (going back to pre-Latin *u̯esri-no-, adjective derivative from the base of Latin vēr "spring") + -ālis -al entry 1; vēr "spring," going back to Indo-European *u̯ḗs-r̥-, *u̯es-n̥-s, whence also Old Norse vár "spring," Old Frisian wars, wērs, Welsh gwanwyn (Old Welsh guiannuin, from British Celtic *u̯esantēno-), Middle Irish errach (probably from *u̯esrāko-, with generalization of the lenited initial consonant), Old Church Slavic vesna, Russian vesná, Lithuanian vãsara "summer," Greek éar "spring" (from *u̯ehar, from *u̯esr̥), Armenian garun (gar- from *gehar-, from *u̯esr̥- + a suffix), Sanskrit vasantá-, Avestan vaŋri (locative) "in the spring"

First Known Use

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of vernal was in 1530


Dictionary Entries Near vernal

Cite this Entry

“Vernal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


ver·​nal ˈvərn-ᵊl How to pronounce vernal (audio)
: of, relating to, or occurring in the spring
the vernal equinox

More from Merriam-Webster on vernal

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