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Inherited from Middle English autumpne, from Middle French automne, from Old French automne, autonne, from Latin autumnus.

Some verb senses are from Latin autumnāre.[1]


  • enPR: ôʹtəm
    • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈɔːtəm/
    • (file)
    • (US) IPA(key): /ˈɔtəm/, [ˈɔɾɪ̈m], [ˈɔɾm̩]
      • (file)
    • (US, Canada, cotcaught merger) IPA(key): /ˈɑtəm/, [ˈɑɾɪ̈m], [ˈɑɾm̩]
      • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɔːtəm
  • Hyphenation: au‧tumn


autumn (countable and uncountable, plural autumns)

Autumn in the United States
  1. Traditionally the third of the four seasons, when deciduous trees lose their leaves; typically regarded as being from September 24 to December 22 in parts of the Northern Hemisphere, and the months of March, April and May in the Southern Hemisphere.
    autumn leaves
    • c. 1595–1596 (date written), William Shakespeare, “A Midsommer Nights Dreame”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene i], page 149, column 1:
      The Spring, the Sommer, / The childing Autumne, angry Winter change / Their wonted Liueries, []
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter XXII, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
      In the autumn there was a row at some cement works about the unskilled labour men. A union had just been started for them and all but a few joined. One of these blacklegs was laid for by a picket and knocked out of time.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
      Serene, smiling, enigmatic, she faced him with no fear whatever showing in her dark eyes. The clear light of the bright autumn morning had no terrors for youth and health like hers.
  2. (by extension) The time period when someone or something is past its prime.
    • 1853, Charles Dickens, Bleak House:
      She has beauty still, and if it be not in its heyday, it is not yet in its autumn.
    • 2014, Robert Kolb, Irene Dingel, Lubomír Batka, The Oxford Handbook of Martin Luther's Theology, →ISBN:
      It has been portrayed as the well-intended yet wrongly directed reaction to latter-day scholasticism, or as the harvest of medieval theology in its autumn years, as a revolution that is theological, political, economic, cultural—or all of the above.
    • 2014, Berch Berberoglu, The Global Capitalist Crisis and Its Aftermath, →ISBN:
      Unlike the decline of British hegemony, in the current world-system no military or economic contender has emerged to replace US hegemony. Even though the US SCA has entered its autumn with the Vietname War and the economic crisis of the mid-1970s, there has been no legitimate hegemonic contender capable of instituting a new global regime to resolve both social and economic contradictions of global capitalism.
    • 2014, May Sarton, At Seventy: A Journal, →ISBN:
      The autumn of life is also a matter of saying farewell, but the strange thing is that I do not feel it is autumn.
  3. (fashion) A person with relatively dark hair and a warm skin tone, seen as best suited to certain colours in clothing.

Usage notes[edit]

Note that season names are not capitalized in modern English except where any noun would be capitalized, e.g. at the beginning of a sentence or as part of a name (Old Man Winter, the Winter War, Summer Glau). This is in contrast to the days of the week and months of the year, which are always capitalized (Thursday or September).


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



autumn (third-person singular simple present autumns, present participle autumning, simple past and past participle autumned)

  1. (intransitive) To spend the autumn (in a particular place).
    • 1835 May, “Northern Germany. A Sketch.”, in Fraser’s Magazine for Town and Country, volume XI, number LXV, page 507:
      True it is that, owing to the migratory propensities of our countrymen, every third man has wintered at Naples, springed at Vienna, summered in Switzerland, and autumned on the banks of the Lago Maggiore;
    • 1912, William C[yrus] Sprague, Tad, the Story of a Boy who Had No Chance, page 2:
      If Tad’s father and Tad had wintered, springed, summered, and autumned together for an hundred years instead of fifteen they could []
    • 1937, Mortimer Jones, “Lines of No Importance”, in The Alphi Phi Quarterly, page 29:
      They wintered in a warm place / And summered in a cold, / But where they springed and autumned / I never have been told.
    • 1938 November 18, Princeton Alumni Weekly, volume XXXIX, number 8, page 180:
      Floyd Waggaman, the namesake of “Floyd’s Folly,” summered and autumned at Siasconset, which your columnist has been told is hard by Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, or one of the disenchanted isles.
    • 1944, O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories, page 111:
      The major’s office, young pudgy Major Lewis whose wife once offered Joe a bag of peanuts and who summered in New England and early-autumned in New York.
    • 1950, Chambers’s Journal, page 269:
      She springed in London, summered in Stockholm, autumned at Vichy, and wintered at Monte Carlo.
    • 1980, Alistair Cooke, The Americans: Letters from America on Our Life and Times, 1969-79, →ISBN, page 264:
      I have summered and autumned (fallen?) on the North Fork for forty-two years.
    • 2006, Tim Pratt, “The Third-Quarter King”, in Jonathan Strahan, Jeremy G Byrne, editors, Eidolon I, →ISBN, page 2:
      In recent years his friend the fourth-quarter king summered, autumned, and springed in nearby Southern California, which was how they stayed so easily in touch.
    • 2010, Larry Stettner, Bill Morrison, Cooking for the Common Good: The Birth of a Natural Foods Soup Kitchen, Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books, →ISBN, page 84:
      Larry and Bill had planned to hold a white-linen “fancy” fund-raiser dinner in late June or early July, which would bring out the moneyed crowd who “summered” on the Island. If you summer or winter somewhere you are affluent, Larry knew. (Funny, though, he had never heard of anyone who “autumned” in Vermont or who was “springing” in Colorado.)
    • 2021, Devin Gordon, So Many Ways to Lose: The Amazin’ True Story of the New York Mets—the Best Worst Team in Sports, Harper, →ISBN:
      So when she summered with her family in the Mediterranean, she sailed across the ocean from New York, and when she autumned in Maine, her chauffeur drove her ten hours north through the foliage, and when winter thawed and it was time again for spring training, she met her Mets in Florida after a long journey down the coast by train.
  2. To undergo the changes associated with autumn, such as leaves changing color and falling from trees.
    • 1886, Horace Eaton Walker, The Lady of Dardale and Other Poems, Manchester, N.H.: Browne & Rowe, pages 139 and 201:
      The glistening path where weeds had clung, / And tumbled bushes lay, / Was hidden now, but yet there rung / Tones of an autumned May. [] And cheers rang out, the song and shout, / For the fray had found its eve, / And pirate chief like autumned leaf, / O’er fallen pride did grieve!”
    • 1887, Virginia Sandars, “The Duke of Melton”, in London Society, volume LII, London: F. V. White & Co., page 185:
      [] he himself roamed with innocent Kate through the fast autumning woods []
    • 2003, Antjie Krog, A Change of Tongue, →ISBN, page 98:
      She turns off towards the river, where the lawns lie autumned on the banks between the frayed golden willow branches.
    • 2008, Jeffrey Winterborne, Medical Marijuana / Cannabis Cultivation: Trees of Life at the University of London, Pukka Press, →ISBN, pages 249–250:
      [] three quarters, two thirds of the flowering tops have changed colour and these are very resinous, solid buds and the colouration of the leaf, you can see how it’s yellowed off, it’s autumning, autumn has come if you would like to put it that way.
    • 2018, Joyce Rupp, Anchors for the Soul: Daily Wisdom for Inspiration and Guidance, Notre Dame, Ind.: Sorin Books, →ISBN, pages 8 and 9:
      Spirit of Autumn, When I grow tired of using my gifts to benefit others, take me to the autumned fields where earth freely yields the bounty of her summer. [] All night a steady rain fell upon the autumned earth, moistening every dried crack of the bony summer, rinsing what lay tattered and soiled in the remnants of yesterday.

See also[edit]

Seasons in English · seasons (layout · text) · category
spring summer autumn, fall winter