Every Thanksgiving season, we season our turkeys or just stay at home and watch a season of a crummy TV show. How did all these different definitions come about? The latter two come from the first; a TV season by connection of "a recurring event each year", and turkey seasoning is a bit more complex: it's correlated because of an earlier meaning of "ripe", and crops get ripe seasonally. But where does season come from? Well, through Middle English alterations such as seson and sesoun, it goes back to the Old French term seison, which meant "time of seeding", which makes sense because seeding and the harvest were the only important seasonal acts to anyone back then. As many French words do, this derives from Latin; in this case it's sationem, an accusative meaning "a sowing", from serere, "to sow", which in turn comes from the Proto-Indo-European root seh, with a definition of "to plant" or also just "to sow". Farming is the most seasonal act of all.
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd