I recently put two and two together and realized that, in Serbo-Croatian, the words for "month" and "moon" are the same (mesec), and that got me wondering how many other words for month have lunar origins. In the other foreign language I know, Spanish, the word for "month" is mes, which comes from the Latin noun mensis (also meaning "month"), and mensis traces to the hypothesized Proto-Indo-European word for "moon", mehns. In English, month comes from Proto-Germanic menoths, which also derives from mehns, so that's related too. Beyond Indo-European languages, this is pretty universal, as well: in Chinese, yuè can also refer to both concepts; so does Swahili mwezi (which can also mean "menstruation"); shahr, the Arabic word for "month", comes from an Aramaic word for "moon"; and so on. Although not very surprising, this is really cool!
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.