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

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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.'"

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Example Sentences

trees and flowers in vernal bloom
Recent Examples on the Web The same phenomenon will take place again next year to mark the spring, or vernal, equinox on March 20, 2023. Kori Rumore, Chicago Tribune, 22 Sep. 2022 One occurs in September and is known as the autumnal equinox for those of us living in the northern hemisphere, while the one that happens in the spring is known as the vernal equinox. Rebekah Lowin, Country Living, 20 Sep. 2022 The Easter Bunny therefore seems to recall these pre-Christian celebrations of spring, heralded by the vernal equinox and personified by the Goddess Eostre. Tok Thompson, The Conversation, 13 Apr. 2022 The Chatsworth Nature Preserve is a remarkable site with seasonal wetlands and vernal pools, grasslands, oak woodlands and savanna, and riparian areas. Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2022 Last year, those of us who volunteered helped more than 11,000 amphibians safely reach their vernal pools. Joanna Lentini, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 Mar. 2022 The 3,521-acre preserve is sort of a living library of biodiversity with vanishing habitat types, including grasslands, wetlands, vernal pools, coastal sage scrub and oak woodlands. Deborah Sullivan Brennan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Nov. 2021 Divots in the dome’s surface collect rainwater to create vernal pools, which are home to fairy shrimp, tiny translucent freshwater crustaceans. Outside Online, 17 June 2021 The Easter bunny therefore seems to recall these pre-Christian celebrations of spring, heralded by the vernal equinox and personified by the goddess Eostre. Tok Thompson, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vernal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 5 Oct. 2022.

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Kids Definition



ver·​nal ˈvər-nᵊl How to pronounce vernal (audio)
: marking the beginning of spring
the vernal equinox

More from Merriam-Webster on vernal

Last Updated: 25 Sep 2022

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