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.
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.
“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.
Canadians seem to prefer the word Fall for Autumn as well.
Which do you prefer to use?
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