Autumn vs Fall

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Does autumn and fall mean exactly the same thing? Why is there two words for the same season? Enquiring minds want to know.

Autumn and Fall the Same

Autumn and fall are both names that refer to the same season. Believe it or not, the difference stems from American Independence. Even though both words were coined in Britain, since the 1800s Americans use the word “fall”, and countries who speak British English use the word “autumn”. (And the word “autumn” does not have to be capitalized because it is a common noun rather than a proper noun, such as a name.)

The word that was used even before autumn.

Not that we want to confuse things further, but the earliest English name for the season was “harvest”. That became confusing. It was only within context that people could tell if you were referring to harvest season or actually harvesting.

According to, in the 1300s the word “autumn” started showing up in the works of Shakespeare and Chaucer, probably derived from the Latin autumnus.

The word “fall” makes sense.

  • In the 1500s, the word fall was used due to “the fall of the leaf” in the season.
  • Daylight savings time saying, “spring forward, fall back”

When is fall?

autumn equinox half day and half night

The autumn equinox usually begins around September 21 and ends around December 21, which has the shortest amount of daylight in the year.

It’s your turn.

What word do you use for the third season of the year? Autumn or fall?

Autumn vs Fall