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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Autumn (also known as fall in American English) is one of the four temperate seasons. Autumn marks the transition from summer into winter, usually in March (Southern Hemisphere) or September (Northern Hemisphere) when the arrival of night becomes noticeably earlier.

Meteorological Offset Astronomical
Northern Hemisphere 1 September – 30 November[1] Autumnal equinox (22-23 September) – Winter solstice (21–22 December) [2]
Southern Hemisphere 1 March – 31 May[3] Autumnal equinox (20-21 March) – Winter solstice (20-21 June) [2]

The equinoxes might be expected to be in the middle of their seasons, but temperature lag (caused by the thermal latency of the ground and sea) means that seasons appear later than dates calculated from a purely astronomical perspective. The actual lag varies with region, so some cultures regard the autumnal equinox as "mid-autumn" whilst others treat it as the start of autumn (as shown in the above table).

Autumn starts on or around 8 August and ends on about 7 November in traditional East Asian solar term.

In Ireland, the autumn months according to the national meteorological service, Met Éireann, are September, October and November.[4] However, according to the Irish Calendar which is based on ancient Celtic traditions, autumn lasts throughout the months of August, September, and October, or possibly a few days later, depending on tradition. In Australia autumn officially begins on 1 March and ends 31 May.[5] The vast diversity of the ecological zones of the Australian continent renders the rigid American seasonal calendar an imposed cultural concept rather than relevant to climactic conditions. The seasonal cycles as named and described by the various indigenous Aboriginal peoples of Australia differ substantially from one another according to their local geographical and ecological environment and are intricately dependent on local environmental events and resources.[6]



An autumn vineyard in Napa Valley, California

The word autumn comes from the Old French word autompne (automne in modern French), and was later normalized to the original Latin word autumnus.[7] There are rare examples of its use as early as the 12th century, but it became common by the 16th century.

Before the 16th century, harvest was the term usually used to refer to the season. However, as more people gradually moved from working the land to living in towns (especially those who could read and write,  the only people whose use of language we now know), the word harvest lost its reference to the time of year and came to refer only to the actual activity of reaping, and fall, as well as autumn, began to replace it as a reference to the season.[8][9]

The alternative word fall is now mostly a North American English word for the season. It traces its origins to old Germanic languages. The exact derivation is unclear, the Old English fiæll or feallan and the Old Norse fall all being possible candidates. However, these words all have the meaning "to fall from a height" and are clearly derived either from a common root or from each other. The term came to denote the season in 16th century England, a contraction of Middle English expressions like "fall of the leaf" and "fall of the year".[10]

During the 17th century, English emigration to the colonies in North America was at its peak, and the new settlers took their language with them. While the term fall gradually became obsolete in Britain, it became the more common term in North America, where autumn is nonetheless preferred in scientific and often in literary contexts.

In popular culture

Harvest association

John Everett Millais, "Autumn Leaves".

Association with the transition from warm to cold weather, and its related status as the season of the primary harvest, has dominated its themes and popular images. In Western cultures, personifications of autumn are usually pretty, well-fed females adorned with fruits, vegetables and grains that ripen at this time. Most ancient cultures featured autumnal celebrations of the harvest, often the most important on their calendars. Still extant echoes of these celebrations are found in the mid-autumn Thanksgiving holiday of the United States, and the Jewish Sukkot holiday with its roots as a full moon harvest festival of "tabernacles" (huts wherein the harvest was processed and which later gained religious significance). There are also the many North American Indian festivals tied to harvest of autumnally ripe foods gathered in the wild, the Chinese Mid-Autumn or Moon festival, and many others. The predominant mood of these autumnal celebrations is a gladness for the fruits of the earth mixed with a certain melancholy linked to the imminent arrival of harsh weather.

This view is presented in English poet John Keats' poem To Autumn, where he describes the season as a time of bounteous fecundity, a time of 'mellow fruitfulness'.

Melancholy association

A brightly colored tree contrasts the green foliage which surrounds it

Autumn in poetry has often been associated with melancholy. The possibilities of summer are gone, and the chill of winter is on the horizon. Skies turn grey, and people turn inward, both physically and mentally.[11] Rainer Maria Rilke, a German poet, has expressed such sentiments in one of his most famous poems, Herbsttag (Autumn Day), which reads

Who now has no house, will not build one (anymore).
Who now is alone, will remain so for long,
will wake, and read, and write long letters
and back and forth on the boulevards
will restlessly wander, while the leaves blow.

Similar examples may be found in Irish poet William Butler Yeats' poem The Wild Swans at Coole where the maturing season that the poet observes symbolically represents his own aging self. Like the natural world that he observes he too has reached his prime and now must look forward to the inevitability of old age and death. French poet Paul Verlaine's "Chanson d'automne" ("Autumn Song") is likewise characterized by strong, painful feelings of sorrow. Keats' To Autumn, written in September 1819, echoes this sense of melancholic reflection, but also emphasises the lush abundance of the season.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;'

Other associations

Halloween Pumpkins

Autumn is also associated with the Halloween season (which in turn was influenced by Samhain, a Celtic autumn festival),[12] and with it a widespread marketing campaign that promotes it. The television, film, book, costume, home decoration, and confectionery industries use this time of year to promote products closely associated with such holiday, with promotions going from early September to 31 October, since their themes rapidly lose strength once the holiday ends, and advertising starts concentrating on Christmas.

Since 1997, Autumn has been one of the top 100 names for girls in the United States.[13]

In Indian mythology, autumn is considered to be the preferred season for the goddess of learning Saraswati, who is also known by the name of "goddess of autumn" (Sharada).


Although color change in leaves occurs wherever deciduous trees are found, colored autumn foliage is most famously noted in three regions of the world: most of Canada and the United States, Eastern Asia (including China, Korea, and Japan), and Europe.

Eastern Canada and the New England region of the United States are famous for the brilliance of their autumnal foliage,[14][15] and this attracts major tourism (worth billions of US$) for the regions.[16][17]


  1. ^ NOAA's National Weather Service Glossary.
  2. ^ a b USNO Master Clock Time Javascript must be Enabled. "Earth's Seasons — Naval Oceanography Portal". Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  3. ^ "The Sun and the Seasons". Museum Victoria. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ So when do we actually start the seasons?
  6. ^ Australian Aboriginal Seasons
  7. ^ Etymology of 'autumn' - New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 1997 Edition
  8. ^ Harper, Douglas. "harvest". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  9. ^ Harper, Douglas. "autumn". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  10. ^ Harper, Douglas. "fall". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  11. ^ Cyclical Regenerative Time - (c) Autumn (from 'Symbolism of Place', website)
  12. ^ Halloween (from the Microsoft Encarta encyclopedia). Archived 2009-10-31.
  13. ^ Popular Baby Names, Social Security Online.
  14. ^ "Nova Scotia Capitalizes on Fall Tourism | News Releases | Government of Nova Scotia". 1999-09-21. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  15. ^ "The Complete Guide to Leaf-Peeping - News & Advice, Travel". The Independent. 2002-09-14. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  16. ^ Shir Haberman. "Leaf peepers storm N.H., Maine". Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  17. ^ "Record New England Rains Make Foliage `a Dud,' Hurt Tourism". 2005-11-04. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 

This article incorporates content from the 1728 Cyclopaedia, a publication in the public domain.

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Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Fall article)

From Wikiquote

Fall is an American term for one of the four seasons. In other English-speaking countries it is called Autumn.


  • "For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad."
    • Edwin Way Teale, Autumn Across America
  • "If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life, then autumn rounds out to be reflection. It's a time of year when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the perennials are gone. Mother Earth just closed up the drapes on another year and it's time to reflect on what's come before."
    • Mitchell Burgess, Northern Exposure, Thanksgiving, 1992
  • "falling leaves
    hide the path
    so quietly"
    • John Bailey, "Autumn," a haiku year, 2001
  • "October gave a party;
    The leaves by hundreds came -
    The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
    And leaves of every name.
    The Sunshine spread a carpet,
    And everything was grand,
    Miss Weather led the dancing,
    Professor Wind the band."
    • George Cooper, "October's Party"


  • "Fall is my favorite season in Los Angeles, watching the birds change color and fall from the trees."
  • "It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life."
  • "Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
  • "Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter."
    • Carol Bishop Hipps
  • "Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."
  • "Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. "
    • Stanley Horowitz
  • "No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace
    As I have seen in one autumnal face."
  • "Besides the autumn poets sing,
    A few prosaic days
    A little this side of the snow
    And that side of the haze."
  • "October's poplars are flaming torches lighting the way to winter."
    • Nova Bair
  • "Youth is like spring, an over praised season more remarkable for biting winds than genial breezes. Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits."
  • "Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn."
    • Elizabeth Lawrence
  • "October is a symphony of permanence and change."
    • Bonaro W. Overstreet
  • "Now Autumn's fire burns slowly along the woods, And day by day the dead leaves fall and melt, And night by night the monitory blast Wails in the key-hole, telling how it pass'd O'er empty fields, or upland solitudes, Or grim wide wave; and now the power is felt Of melancholy, tenderer in its moods Than any joy indulgent Summer dealt."
  • "O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stained With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit Beneath my shady roof; there thou mayest rest And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe, And all the daughters of the year shall dance! Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers."
  • "Autumn wins you best by this, its mute Appeal to sympathy for its decay."
  • "Glorious are the woods in their latest gold and crimson, Yet our full-leaved willows are in the freshest green. Such a kindly autumn, so mercifully dealing With the growths of summer, I never yet have seen."
  • "All-cheering Plenty, with her flowing horn, Led yellow Autumn, wreath'd with nodding corn."
  • "The mellow autumn came, and with it came The promised party, to enjoy its sweets. The corn is cut, the manor full of game; The pointer ranges, and the sportsman beats In russet jacket;--lynx-like is his aim; Full grows his bag, and wonderful his feats. An, nutbrown partridges! An, brilliant pheasants! And ah, ye poachers!--'Tis no sport for peasants."
  • "Yellow, mellow, ripened days, Sheltered in a golden coating; O'er the dreamy, listless haze, White and dainty cloudlets floating; Winking at the blushing trees, And the sombre, furrowed fallow; Smiling at the airy ease, Of the southward flying swallow Sweet and smiling are thy ways, Beauteous, golden Autumn days."
  • "No spring, nor summer beauty hath such grace As I have seen in one autumnal face; Young beauties force our love, and that's a rape; This doth but counsel, yet you cannot scape."
  • I saw old Autumn in the misty morn Stand shadowless like silence, listening To silence, for no lonely bird would sing Into his hollow ear from woods forlorn, Nor lowly hedge nor solitary thorn;-- Shaking his languid locks all dewy bright With tangled gossamer that fell by night, Pearling his coronet of golden corn.

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Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

This is a disambiguation page, which lists works which share the same title. If an article link referred you here, please consider editing it to point directly to the intended page.

Autumn may refer to:


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also autumn


Proper noun




  1. A female given name of modern usage, from the name of the season.

Simple English

Fallen autumn leaves

Autumn is the season after summer and before winter. In the United States this season is also called fall. In the Northern Hemisphere, it begins with the autumnal equinox (22 September) and ends with the winter solstice (21 December). In the Southern Hemisphere, it runs from the autumnal equinox (20 March) to the winter solstice (21 June).

In many places, autumn is a time for harvesting most crops. Deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves every year) lose their leaves, usually after turning yellow, red, or brown. Evergreen trees keep their leaves all year round. Also, in many countries, autumn is the time a new school year starts. In the UK, the period of school between the start of September and the end of December is known as the 'Autumn Term'.

When it is autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, it is spring in the Southern Hemisphere. When it is autumn in the Southern Hemisphere, it is spring in the Northern Hemisphere. On the Equator, Autumn is very much like Spring, with little difference in temperature or in weather. Autumn is a time when most animals are looking for food so they can store up for winter, because they soon will be going into hibernation. The weather gets colder and more windy.

Spring     Winter
   Summer           Autumn   

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