noun, plural Feb·ru·ar·ies.
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Origin of February
pronunciation note for February
Words nearby February
BEHIND THE WORD
What does February mean?
It can be pronounced either FEB-roo-air-ee or FEB-yoo-air-ee.
February is notable for being the shortest month of the year. It has 28 days, except during a leap year, when it has 29 due to the addition of a leap day. Every four years, a leap day is added to the end of February to adjust for the fact that the calendar is 365 days long but the Earth’s revolution around the sun actually takes 365 days and 6 hours.
In the U.S. and some other countries, February is Black History Month. Several U.S. and international holidays also fall in February, including Groundhog Day on February 2, Valentine’s Day on February 14, and Presidents’ Day on the third Monday of February. The American football championship known as the Super Bowl is typically held in early February.
Example: I was born on February 29, so I usually celebrate my birthday on February 28 on non-leap years.
Where does February come from?
The first records of the word February come from before 1000. It comes from the Latin Februārius mēnsis, in which mēnsis means “month” and Februārius means “expiatory,” which describes things involving atonement.
The month is named after Februa, a Roman purification festival involving ritual washing and offerings to the gods to atone for mistakes. In Old English, the name for the month was Solmonath, meaning “mud month.”
In ancient Rome, the calendar at one time only consisted of 10 months, with the year beginning on March 1. Eventually, two additional months—what we now call January and February—were added so that the months would fall during the same seasons each year. Both were given 28 days, but, at some point, three more days were added to January, with February still retaining 28 (except in leap years).
Discover more to the story behind the word February, by reading our article on the name’s fascinating history.
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How is February used in real life?
February is known for being the shortest month of the year, and for having an extra day every four years.
Even though February is the shortest month, it seems like the longest… pic.twitter.com/VcAamQNBPW
— Robert of Hove (@robert_hove) February 7, 2020
i can’t explain it, but february is the august of winter
— scrambled legs (@oldladyfan12) January 16, 2021
February is the best month hands down. Valentines Day, Black History Month , Leap Year and My Birthday 😝🥰
— – Kelia Sherell (@KeliaSherell) January 16, 2021
Try using February!
True or False?
February is the shortest month of the year except when it has 29 days during leap years.
How to use February in a sentence
Amazingly, in February, Americans were feeling incredibly bullish.Can the Dow’s Big Tech makeover finally push the blue chip index above 30,000?|Bernhard Warner|August 25, 2020|Fortune
The Capital and ProPublica asked the housing authority in July why officials required Brown to pay the full rent in February after the agency confirmed that she was unemployed.She Was Sued Over Rent She Didn’t Owe. It Took Seven Court Dates to Prove She Was Right.|by Danielle Ohl, Capital Gazette, and Talia Buford and Beena Raghavendran, ProPublica|August 25, 2020|ProPublica
Shares of the company now trade 38% below their debut in February even as the S&P 500 climbs to new highs.Casper’s CEO is filing for a blank check company. What does he plan to buy?|Lucinda Shen|August 19, 2020|Fortune
A bundle Bloomberg Media and The Information announced in February, for example, has already been unwound.‘There are so many cool things we could do’: Publisher interest in subscription-driving bundles simmers|Max Willens|August 11, 2020|Digiday
Despite assurances throughout January and February that Europe was successfully containing the virus, it had silently taken hold of the continent and officials were beginning to realize that a larger crisis was looming.Inside Europe’s response to the coronavirus outbreak|Laura Margottini|July 16, 2020|Quartz
In February, Slovakia will have a referendum on whether marriage should be defined as a union between a man and a woman.
This past February, another member, Fernando Gonzalez, was sent back to Cuba.Of Cuban Spies, a Baby, and a Filmmaker: The Strange Tale of the Cuban Five|Nina Strochlic|December 28, 2014|DAILY BEAST
And back in February, he lost a close pal in Philip Seymour Hoffman.Coffee Talk with Ethan Hawke: On ‘Boyhood,’ Jennifer Lawrence, and Bill Clinton’s Urinal Exchange|Marlow Stern|December 27, 2014|DAILY BEAST
By the end of February, as Hitler consolidated his power, his decision was made: He would not—indeed, could not—remain.
Political tensions are underlying every move in Nigeria, where, in February, the next presidential candidates will be nominated.
The work was commenced in June, 1882, the memorial stone being laid February 15th, the following year.Showell's Dictionary of Birmingham|Thomas T. Harman and Walter Showell
At last he arrived at Dieppe, and, after a sojourn there, he put to sea upon the 26th of this same month of February.
On February 18th the French captured the suburb on the left bank of the river, and thus placed the inner town between two fires.Napoleon's Marshals|R. P. Dunn-Pattison
After the surrender of Comyn and his adherents in February 1303–4, he threw himself heartily into the pursuit of Wallace.King Robert the Bruce|A. F. Murison
Early in February he was invited for a week's hunting to a house at which Betty Lardner was also a guest.Uncanny Tales|Various