Friday, September 13, 2002

Etymology Today from M-W: estival \ESS-tuh-vul\
: of or relating to the summer

"Estival" and "festival" look so much alike (and the estival months lend themselves so well to festivals) that you might think they're very closely related, but that isn't the case. "Estival" traces back to "aestas," which is the Latin word for "summer" (and which also gave us "estivate," a verb for spending the summer in a torpid state -- a sort of hot- weather equivalent of hibernation). "Festival" also comes from Latin, but it has a different and unrelated root. It derives from "festivus," a term that means "festive" or "merry." "Festivus" is also the ancestor of "festive," as well as "festivity," the much rarer "festivous" (which also means "festive"), and the also rare "infestive," meaning "not merry, mirthless."

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