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German Months from Latin

MensisThe MonthsDie Monate

The English word “calendar” (Kalender in German) comes from the Latin word kalendae (calends, "the day when accounts are due") or the first day of the month. Roman dates were expressed in "kalendae," nonae" (nones), and "idus" (ides), the 1st, 5th and 13th days of a month (the 15th day in the months of March, May, July and October) respectively. The names for the months of the year came into English, German and most of the western languages via Greek and Latin. The earliest Roman calendar was originally lunar and only had ten months, with Martius (March) the first and December (deca = 10) the last. The later Roman Republican calendar was a 12-month 355-day calendar with each month having a length of 28-31 days. During the reign of Julius Caesar the Julian calendar was an attempt to bring the annual period closer to the actual 365.2422 days of a solar year. Caesar thus decreed that very four years there would be an extra day, with February 24 counted twice.

As the calendar and the actual solar cycles became increasingly out of alignment, due to the inaccuracies of the Julian calendar, in 1472 Pope Sixtus IV called on the German astronomer and mathematician Johann Müller (whose Latin name was Regiomontanus) to oversee improvements to the Julian calendar. Unfortunately, Müller was assassinated in 1476 and calendar reform was delayed for over a century until another German, the mathematician Christopher Clavius finished the project for Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. However, even this new Gregorian calendar, the same one (with minor reforms) in use today, was not adopted in many parts of the world until decades or even centuries later (1700 in Protestant Germany, 1751 in Great Britain).

Below are the twelve months in their Latin, German and English forms. Also see the older Germanic terms used before the 18th century - listed below this chart.

Mensis - Monate - Months
Ianuarius Januar January
Februarius Februar February
Martius März March
Aprilis April April
Maius Mai May
Iunius Juni June
Prev: Quintilis
Juli July
Prev: Sextilis
August August
September September September
October Oktober October
November November November
December Dezember December
Days: Latin-Deutsch-English
Latin Loan Words
Time and Calendar Glossary
English-German Glossaries

Karl der Große und die Monate
Around 800, Charlemagne (Karl der Große) created official Old German (Altdeutsch) terms for the months. These were used until around the 15th century, when other German terms came into use - from about the 15th to the 18th century.

(9.-15 Jh.)
(15.-18. Jh.)
January Wintermanoth
(still used in Austria)
February Hornung
(origin uncertain)
March Lenzinmanoth
(spring month)
April Ostarmanoth
(Easter month)
May Wunnimanoth
(grazing month)
June Brachmanoth
(plowing month)
July Hewimanoth
(hay month)
August Aranmanoth
(harvest month)
September Witumanoth
(wood-gathering month)
October Windumanoth
(wine harvest month)
November Herbistmanoth
(grazing month)
December Heilagmanoth
(holy month)

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