Today is the first day of agosto/August, and as is true for the names of our other months, we’ve acquired this one from the Romans. Unlike the names of all the other months except July, however, this one comes from a specific and real (as opposed to mythological) Roman, the emperor Augustus Caesar. Now, long before it was a name, augustus was a Latin word, and it meant the same as our borrowed augusto and august do. The 1913 Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary gave this definition for the adjective: ‘Of a quality inspiring mingled admiration and reverence; having an aspect of solemn dignity or grandeur; sublime; majestic; having exalted birth, character, state, or authority.’ Similarly, the definition in the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española is: ‘Que infunde o merece gran respeto y veneración por su majestad y excelencia.’

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. shoreacres
    Aug 03, 2012 @ 21:28:47

    August must be a far better month over there in the realm of the old Roman Empire. I don’t have much admiration for August-the-month, and there’s not a lick of dignity or grandeur attached to it for those of us wandering Texas’ coastal plain! I suspect things aren’t much better mid-state. Perhaps Ernesto or one of his friends will bring some relief. If not, there’s always October.


    • Steve Schwartzman
      Aug 03, 2012 @ 22:55:09

      Perhaps it is better in the realm of the old Roman Empire, and yet I’m reminded that even further north, in Paris, many people leave for other places during the month of August. As we both know so well, August in Texas is not so august, but is hot, hot, hot—and yet there are plants that thrive in that heat.


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©2011–2016 Steven Schwartzman
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