Do Months Have Genders?

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, October 20, 1913:

10/20 – 10/24: It’s been so rainy and dreary this week that I begin to feel awful grouchy. I certainly am under the weather these days. Any way October never was a favorite month of mine. I don’t have much to write about for her.

clouds

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Hmm. . . it’s interesting that Grandma thought of October as a “her”

Do months have genders? . . . and if so is October, a feminine month?

I don’t think of months as a him or a her, but if  I assigned genders to months,  I’d make  the pleasant warm months feminine ones, and the cold, wet ones masculine ones.

This brings back vague memories of my high school Spanish class. I think that in Spanish the names of all months were masculine words.

20 Responses

  1. That’s a very interesting question. May, June, April and May are all names for females so perhaps they could be considered female.

  2. I never really thought of it before, but now that you mention it… October – male – for the days getting darker and men out harvesting crops.

  3. This reminds me of something I mentioned in my blog recently about synesthesia, which is a fascinating topic to me. It’s interesting to wonder whether Helena was a synesthete, or was just adapting the practice of assigning genders as we do with ships, storms, etc. or as you point out, as other languages do with all their nouns. Either way it does make for engaging writing!

  4. I think “her” and “she” are used a lot in referencing. I see it most often in ships and I find myself using it in my blog about my father’s WWII ship. Here is a website that talks all about this type of referencing. http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/3178/referring-to-objects-as-she

  5. I’ve never thought about months having genders either…but I agree with you about the warm, pleasant ones being females!

  6. I guess that her schooling taught her some classical meaning for the months. :?:

  7. English is one of the few languages where the word the or it takes care of any gender issues. But I think it used to be less like that, i.e., a sail boat was she for example. I speak German and French and any words I have ever thought of are assigned opposite genders in either language, i.e moon is la lune (fem) in french and der mond (masc) in German. Weird huh?

  8. We have Old Man Winter :)

  9. I don’t know, but the seasons were all goddesses in ancient Greece (and maybe Rome, too). So female.

  10. Depends on the language, for English technically no.

  11. October was always my least favorite month…just like she describes. Until we moved to Florida. Now it’s a very nice month…and for me could be a female :)

  12. I wonder whether in 1913, if people were still quite connected to their ancestral languages? If so, their nouns might often have the genders of their parents’ native languages…

    But I’m taking a wild guess here, not yet having discovered Helena’s roots.

  13. Interesting, April, May, and June are women’s names but no men’s names in months. Than moth n Dutch is considered a female word, but in French and German it is a male word.

  14. That does make one curious.

  15. I will spend some time considering the gender of the months. I have already begun my study. Grandma is right. October is a lady.
    Sheila
    Just home from Turkey and Greece. What new perspectives one gains from travel.

  16. Good Question….mmmmm, I guess some months ARE more female in not only name alone but in feeling. Like Apri, May, June July (Juli) or even August (Augusta)….so I guess I’d consider Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb and Mar male months too. I’m on the fence about September :D

  17. I know in Germany they also use male and female for certain words, but I am not sure what the months are….

  18. One of my favorite poems in my book about Seasons ended up giving Autumn and Spring feminine personas and Winter and Summer were male: It just seemed right.

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