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[dih-sem-ber] /dɪˈsɛm bər/
the twelfth month of the year, containing 31 days.
Abbreviation: Dec.
Origin of December
before 1000; Middle English decembre < Old French < Latin december (stem decembr-) the tenth month of the early Roman year, apparently < *dec(em)-membri-, equivalent to decem ten + *-membri- < mens- month + -ri- suffix (with -sr- > -br- and assimilation of nasal) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for December
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • December 29, 1879, Mr. Gladstone attained the seventieth year of his age.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • On the 13th of December, 1882, Mr. Gladstone's political jubilee was celebrated.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • December 29, 1892, Mr. Gladstone celebrated his eighty-third birthday.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • December 29, 1893, Mr. Gladstone attained the eighty-fourth year of his age.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • It was December then, gray and raw, with a wet snow that changed to rain as it fell.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
British Dictionary definitions for December


the twelfth and last month of the year, consisting of 31 days
Word Origin
C13: from Old French decembre, from Latin december the tenth month (the Roman year originally began with March), from decem ten
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for December

c.1000, from Old French decembre, from Latin December, from decem "ten" (see ten); tenth month of the old Roman calendar, which began with March.

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"]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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