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July

[ joo-lahy, juh-lahy ]
/ dʒuˈlaɪ, dʒəˈlaɪ /
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noun, plural Ju·lies, Ju·lys.
the seventh month of the year, containing 31 days. Abbreviation: Jul.
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Origin of July

before 1050; Middle English julie<Anglo-French <Latin Jūlius (Caesar), after whom it was named; replacing Old English Julius<Latin; Middle English ju(i)l<Old French <Latin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

BEHIND THE WORD

What does July mean?

July is the seventh month of the calendar year, lasting 31 days and falling between June and August. It’s one of the 12 months of the Gregorian calendar.

In the Northern Hemisphere, July is a summer month. The days during the period from July 3 to August 11 are traditionally known as the dog days of summer. In the Southern Hemisphere, July is a winter month.

What happens in July?

In Canada, July 1 is the patriotic national holiday known as Canada Day. In the U.S., July 4 is Independence Day, popularly known as the Fourth of July. July 14 is the national day of France, known in English as Bastille Day.

In the U.S., July is observed as BIPOC Mental Health Month.

In astrology, the sign Cancer applies to those born between June 22 and July 22. The sign Leo applies to those born between July 23 and August 23.

Example: As soon as July begins, I can already feel the dog days of summer setting in.

Where does July come from?

The first records of the word July come from before 1050. It comes from the Latin mēnsis Jūlius, meaning “Julius’s month,” referring to Roman Emperor Julius Caesar.

Originally, the Roman calendar consisted of 10 months instead of 12. During the reign of Julius Caesar, two additional months—what we now call January and February—were added so that the months would fall during the same seasons each year. (This new calendar was called the Julian calendar, which was further revised with the Gregorian calendar, which is still used today).

Due to the change, each of the existing months shifted. The fifth month of the year, named Quintilis (the root quint- means “five”), became the seventh month of the year and was renamed after Julius Caesar, eventually coming to be known as July.

The sixth month, Sextilis, was renamed after Augustus Caesar and eventually became August. The last four months of the year still retain roots referring to a number that’s incompatible with their current position in the calendar (for example, September means “seventh month” but it’s the ninth; December means “tenth month” but it’s the twelfth).

 

Discover more to the story behind the word July, by reading our article on the name’s fascinating history.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to July?

  • Julies (plural)
  • Julys (plural)

What are some words that share a root or word element with July

What are some words that often get used in discussing July?

How is July used in real life?

In the Northern Hemisphere, July is associated with summertime.

Try using July!

True or False? 

July is named after Roman Emperor Julius Caesar.

How to use July in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for July

July
/ (dʒuːˈlaɪ, dʒə-, dʒʊ-) /

noun plural -lies
the seventh month of the year, consisting of 31 days

Word Origin for July

C13: from Anglo-French julie, from Latin Jūlius, after Gaius Julius Caesar, in whose honour it was named
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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