• synonyms


[ jan-yoo-er-ee ]
/ ˈdʒæn yuˌɛr i /

noun, plural Jan·u·ar·ies.

the first month of the year, containing 31 days. Abbreviation: Jan.


Where Does The Name January Come From?We'll give you a hint ... it may have to do with the god of transitions: Janus, who is often depicted with two heads that face in opposite directions, looking to both the future and the past.

Origin of January

before 1000; Middle English < Latin, noun use of Jānuārius, equivalent to Jānu(s) Janus + -ārius -ary; replacing Middle English Genever, Jeniver < Anglo-French, Old French Genever, Jenever < Latin, as above; replacing Old English Januarius < Latin Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for january

British Dictionary definitions for january


/ (ˈdʒænjʊərɪ) /

noun plural -aries

the first month of the year, consisting of 31 days

Word Origin for January

C14: from Latin Jānuārius, from adj: (month) of Janus 1
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 january



late 13c., Ieneuer, from Old North French Genever, Old French Jenvier (Modern French Janvier), attested from early 12c. in Anglo-French, from Latin Ianuarius (mensis) "(the month) of Janus," to whom the month was sacred as the beginning of the year (see Janus; cf. Italian Gennajo, Provençal Genovier, Portuguese Janeiro). The form was gradually Latinized by c.1400. Replaced Old English geola se æfterra "Later Yule." In Chaucer, a type-name for an old man.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper