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February

[feb-roo-er-ee, feb-yoo‐]
noun, plural Feb·ru·ar·ies.
  1. the second month of the year, ordinarily containing 28 days, but containing 29 days in leap years. Abbreviation: Feb.
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Origin of February

before 1000; Middle English; Old English Februarius < Latin Februārius (mēnsis) expiatory (month), derivative of februa (plural) expiatory offerings; see -ary

Pronunciation note

Many people try to pronounce February with both [r] /r/ sounds, as shown above. The common pronunciation [feb-yoo-er-ee] /ˈfɛb yuˌɛr i/, with the first [r] /r/ replaced by [y] /y/, is the result of dissimilation, the tendency of like sounds to become unlike when they follow each other closely. An additional influence is analogy with January. Although sometimes criticized, this dissimilated pronunciation of February is used by educated speakers and is considered standard.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for february

February

noun plural -aries
  1. the second month of the year, consisting of 28 or (in a leap year) 29 days
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Word Origin for February

C13: from Latin Februārius mēnsis month of expiation, from februa Roman festival of purification held on February 15, from plural of februum a purgation
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

Word Origin and History for february

February

n.

late 14c., from Latin februarius mensis "month of purification," from februa "purifications, expiatory rites" (plural of februum), of unknown origin, said to be a Sabine word. The last month of the ancient (pre-450 B.C.E.) Roman calendar, so named in reference to the Roman feast of purification, held on the ides of the month. In Britain, replaced Old English solmonað "mud month." English first (c.1200) borrowed it from Old French Feverier, which yielded feoverel before a respelling to conform to Latin.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper