Why Do They Call it Fall?

In the United States, we have an odd habit (well, at least one). In late September we start talking about Fall. That’s our descriptive word for the change of seasons. For us, the word Autumn is considered stuffy, overly formal, or poetic.

Two Tone Leaves Photo: Rebecca Cuningham

Meanwhile in Britain, Autumn is the preferred word for the third season of the year in the northern hemisphere. There, fall is an action. According to historians, it was not always that way. The word Autumn’s first recorded use was in the 1200s. The word is derived from the French autompne or automne. Before that time and until the 1600s the season was most often called Harvest.

Fallen Leaves Photo: Rebecca Cuningham

“Fall of the leaves” was another standard phrase. It was abbreviated to simply the first word in the 1600s, as British folks were moving across the pond to North America. Although, in the British Isles, Autumn won the common usage popularity contest. Since the 1800s Fall’s been our preferred title for the season in the US.

Autumn Maple Photo: Rebecca Cuningham

Canadians seem to prefer the word Fall for Autumn as well.

Which do you prefer to use?

Gracias for visiting Fake Flamenco! I appreciate your comments. ¡Olé! –Rebecca

This post is part of Six Word Saturday. Check out Debbie and Friends’ fabulous photos.

Oak Leaf Triad Photo: Rebecca Cuningham

#6WS #SixWordSaturday

Rebecca Cuningham

27 thoughts on “Why Do They Call it Fall?

  1. As a former British colonial subject, I grew up with the term autumn for this season of the year. In Guyana, there are only two seasons–the dry and rainy seasons. Fall doesn’t work so well here in Southern California since we don’t have that many trees that lose their leaves. But, as the preferred word in the US, I use Fall for this time of year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s funny how I have specific uses for each word. At times it depends on audience, if the person grew up speaking British English, I tend to use autumn. But Fall is what comes naturally : ) Thanks for the compliment. That tree was a looker!


  2. Lovely post highlighting a season of transference towards winter. In my language it is otoño, autumn as I learned it in English. When I went to the US I heard not just this word but many more that were different but we all communicate and that is the most important thing we should all strive for. Smashing photography Rebecca!

    Liked by 1 person

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