Word of the Week! Equinoctial

Autumn TrailWe are well past the Autumnal Equinox now, but I do love this adjective enough to trot it out before Old Man Winter arrives, such as he is in these days of global warming.

The term itself stretches back to the Medieval “Little Ice Age,” with the OED giving us a first recorded usage in the year 1400. It has been used as a noun in times past; it rarely appears as such today.

Our word offers more specificity than does autumnal, the subject of a 2018 post. As the months of October through May mark my favorite time of year–I despise hot, humid weather and always have–I like to find words that conjure the mood of wood smoke from the stove we use to heat our farmhouse, stew in the dutch oven, the chirping of the last (or first) crickets.

Enter equinoctial, of Latin derivation, referencing the time around the Spring or Fall equinox.  It can also point to regions near the planet’s equator. That sense applies to days and nights being of equal length.

And hot as blazes. Get out in our cooler weather and take some socially distanced walks. This is the time for them.

PS: Apologies for a now corrected spelling error! WordPress lacks a spellcheck and I prove notoriously bad at finding these, even when reading aloud. I’ll report separately what I think about Grammarly’s plug-in for the Chrome browser.

Their word on this post: “sounds forceful.”

Send forceful words and metaphors to jessid -at- richmond -dot- edu. See all of our Metaphors of the Month here and Words of the Week here.

Photo “Autumnal Trail” courtesy of photographer Christian Kortum at Flickr.