yule

[yool]
|

noun

Christmas, or the Christmas season.

Origin of yule

before 900; Middle English yole, Old English geōl(a) Christmastide; cognate with Old Norse jōl; akin to Gothic jiuleis
Can be confusedyou'll yule
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for yule

yule

noun

(sometimes capital) literary, archaic, or dialect
  1. Christmas, the Christmas season, or Christmas festivities
  2. (in combination)yuletide

Word Origin for yule

Old English geōla, originally a name of a pagan feast lasting 12 days; related to Old Norse jōl, Swedish jul, Gothic jiuleis
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 yule
n.

Old English geol, geola "Christmas Day, Christmastide," from Old Norse jol (plural), a heathen feast, later taken over by Christianity, of unknown origin.

The Old English (Anglian) cognate giuli was the Anglo-Saxons' name for a two-month midwinter season corresponding to Roman December and January, a time of important feasts but not itself a festival. After conversion to Christianity it narrowed to mean "the 12-day feast of the Nativity" (which began Dec. 25), but was replaced by Christmas by 11c., except in the northeast (areas of Danish settlement), where it remained the usual word.

Revived 19c. by writers to mean "the Christmas of 'Merrie England.' " First direct reference to the Yule log is 17c. Old Norse jol seems to have been borrowed in Old French as jolif, hence Modern French joli "pretty, nice," originally "festive" (see jolly).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper