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Why Do We Call it “Spring?”

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The names of two of the four seasons we have in Iowa come from Germanic languages; such is not the case with “spring.”

That's according to Patricia O’Connor, author of the book “Woe is I." The word evolved in English and the story behind it is actually quite poetic.

In the case of spring, it was first recorded in writing in the 800's. It meant a place where water rises from the ground.

 O’Connor says it’s a wonderful example of how a word develops.

“Meanwhile, a new sense of the word was also being developed. It became to mean an emerging or rising of something and a verb evolved. Then people began calling dawn, ‘the spring of the day;’ they began calling the time of the year when leaves emerged the ‘spring of the leaf.’ Then it was shortened to spring.”

Find Patricia O’Connor’s website, and more grammar trivia, here. 

Lindsey Moon is IPR's Digital Producer
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa