Definition: Summer

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Etymology 1

From Middle English somer, sumer, from Old English sumor (summer), from Proto-West Germanic *sumar, from Proto-Germanic *sumaraz (summer), from Proto-Indo-European *sm̥-h₂-ó-, oblique of *semh₂- (summer, year).

Cognate with Scots somer, sumer, simer (summer), West Frisian simmer (summer), Saterland Frisian Suumer (summer), Dutch zomer (summer), Low German Sommer (summer), German Sommer (summer), Danish and Norwegian Bokmål sommer (summer), Swedish sommar (summer), Norwegian Nynorsk and Icelandic sumar (summer), Welsh haf (summer), Armenian ամ or am (year), ամառ or amaṙ (summer), Sanskrit समा or sámā (a half-year, season, weather, year), Avestan 𐬵𐬀𐬨 or ham- (summer), Middle Persian ḥʾmyn or hāmīn (summer), Northern Kurdish havîn (summer), Central Kurdish ھاوین or hawîn (summer).


summer (countable and uncountable, plural summers)

  1. One of four seasons, traditionally the second, marked by the longest and typically hottest days of the year due to the inclination of the Earth and thermal lag. Typically regarded as being from June 21 to September 22 or 23 in parts of the United States, the months of June, July, and August in the United Kingdom, and the months of December, January, and February in the Southern Hemisphere.
    The heat of summer was unbearable at times, but at least it made the lake warm enough to swim in.
  2. (fashion) Someone with light, pinkish skin that has a blue undertone, light hair and eyes, seen as best suited to certain colors of clothing.

Usage notes

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

  • dog days of summer
  • Indian summer

Martinmas summer

  • midsummer
  • nuclear summer
  • summer-ale
  • summer bird
  • summer break
  • summer camp
  • summer encephalitis
  • summer-field
  • summer finch
  • Summer Games
  • summer-heat
  • summer holiday
  • summer house
  • summer hyacinth
  • summerish
  • Summer of Love
  • summer rose
  • summer sausage
  • summer school
  • summer solstice
  • summer squash
  • summertime
  • summer vacation
  • summer warbler
  • summery


summer (third-person singular simple present summers, present participle summering, simple past and past participle summered)

  1. To spend the summer, as in a particular place on holiday.
    We like to summer in the Mediterranean.

Etymology 2

From Middle English somer, from Anglo-Norman summer, sumer, from Vulgar Latin saumārius, for Late Latin sagmārius, from Latin sagma (sum). Compare sumpter.


summer (plural summers)

  1. A horizontal beam supporting a building; a summerbeam or summertree.

Derived terms

  • summer bar
  • summerbeam
  • summer-castle
  • summer-stone
  • summer-tower
  • summertree
  • summer-trestle

Etymology 3

sum + -er


summer (plural summers)

  1. A person who sums; a person who calculates by adding things together.
  2. A machine or algorithm that sums.


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