Why is “-ber” the suffix of the last four months of the year?

  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

Presumably something Latin, but my (admittedly brief) search sees only mention of the number-based root words.

More specifically, what does “-ber” mean?

Answer

From Etymonline:

The -ber in four Latin month names is probably from -bris, an adjectival suffix. Tucker thinks that the first five months were named for their positions in the agricultural cycle, and “after the gathering in of the crops, the months were merely numbered.”

If the word contains an element related to mensis, we must assume a *decemo-membris (from *-mensris). October must then be by analogy from a false division Sep-tem-ber &c. Perhaps, however, from *de-cem(o)-mr-is, i.e. “forming the tenth part or division,” from *mer- …, while October = *octuo-mr-is. [T.G. Tucker, “Etymological Dictionary of Latin”]

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : RonJohn , Answer Author : marcellothearcane

Leave a Comment