Does The Month of March Have Anything To Do With “Marching”?

Getty

Where did the name March come from?

The name March is ultimately derived from the Latin word Martius (named after Mars, the Roman god of war). Martius was the name of the first month in the original Roman calendar. Along with January, May, and June, March is one of several months named after a god.

While many have adopted the Gregorian calendar (the Roman ruler, Numa Pompilius, is traditionally credited with adding January and February to the calendar, thus making March the third month of the year), some cultures and religions still celebrate the start of the New Year on March 1.

Is there a connection between the month and the word marching?

In ancient Rome, March marked with the start of the military campaign season. While it is tempting to connect the word march, as “march into battle,” with this month, march comes from the Old French marchier, “to tread, move,” possibly from a Frankish (ancient Germanic language) root meaning “to mark, pace out,” related to mark.

What does the phrase mad as a March hare mean?

Hares (which look like big rabbits, though they are different species) mate during the month of March, when they are noted for their wild and excitable behavior, hence the expression mad as a March hare. The phrase has been in use since the 1500s, including in the poem Blowbol’s Test (“Thanne þey begyn to swere and to stare, And be as braynles as a Marshe hare”).

Lewis Carroll also referenced the March hare in 1865’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (often shortened to Alice in Wonderland), which features the character, the March Hare: “The March hare … as this is May, it won’t be raving mad—at least not so mad as it was in March.”

What are the Ides of March?

The Ides of March is a reference to the date Julius Caesar was stabbed to death in 44 BC and is observed on the 15th day of the month.

The Dictionary Is More Than The Word Of The Day

Enter your email for word fun in your inbox every day.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.