From Latin vernālis (“(rare) of or pertaining to spring; vernal”), from vērnus (“of or pertaining to spring; vernal”) + -ālis (suffix forming adjectives of relationship). Vērnus is derived from vēr (“season of spring”) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *wósr̥ (“spring”)) + -nus (suffix forming adjectives). The English word is cognate with Old French vernal (modern French vernal), Italian vernale (“pertaining to spring; vernal”), Occitan vernal, Portuguese vernal (“pertaining to spring; vernal”), Spanish vernal (“pertaining to spring; vernal”).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈvɜːn(ə)l/
Audio (Southern England) (file)
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈvɝnəl/
- Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)nəl
- Hyphenation: vern‧al
- Pertaining to or occurring in spring. [from mid 16th c.]
- 1633, Thomas Bancroft, The Glvttons Feauer, London: Printed by Iohn Norton, for William Cooke, […], →OCLC; quoted in “Bancroft, (Thomas.)—The Glvttons Feauer. […] 1633.”, in Thomas Corser, editor, Collectanea Anglo-Poetica: Or, A Bibliographical and Descriptive Catalogue of a Portion of a Collection of Early English Poetry, […] (Remains Historical & Literary Connected with the Palatine Counties of Lancaster and Chester; LII), part I, [Manchester]: Printed for the Chetham Society, 1860, →OCLC, page 139:
- For as a vernall Larke, but lately drest / In her first Downe, abandoning her nest, / Stretchest her pinions, her small force assayes / Flutters, and fals before her flight shee raise, [...]
- 1640, Ovid, “The Fifth Book; Or, May”, in John Gower, transl., edited by Edward Alliston, Ovids Festivalls, or Romaine Calendar, Translated into English Verse Equinumerally, [Cambridge, Cambridgeshire]: Printed by Roger Daniel, printer to the University of Cambridge; [a]nd are to be sold by M[ichael] S[parke] junior, […], →OCLC, page 107:
- To my requeſt this anſwer ſhe bequeath'd, / Whiles from her lips the vernall Roſes breath'd; [...]
- 1671, R[alph] Bohun, “[Of the Etesian, or Anniversary VVinds: Their Several Species]”, in A Discourse Concerning the Origine and Properties of VVind. […], Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by W. Hall for Tho[mas] Bowman, →OCLC, pages 118–119:
- [...] I have in England for ſome years paſt, kept by me an exact table, or Ephemeris both of the Vernall, and Summer Eteſians; but found the VVinds no leſſe Variable in thoſe Months, then at other Seaſons.
- 1794, Robert Southey, Wat Tyler. A Dramatic Poem. In Three Acts, London: […] [J. M‘Creery] for Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, […], published 1817, →OCLC, Act I, page 15:
- Look round: the vernal fields smile with new flowers, / The budding orchard perfumes the soft breeze, / And the green corn waves to the passing gale.
- 1807, “APHIS”, in The Complete Farmer; or, General Dictionary of Agriculture and Husbandry: […], 5th re-written and enlarged edition, volume I, London: Printed by Rider and Weed, […]; for R. Baldwin; [et al.], →OCLC, column 1:
- Their [aphids'] punctures of the leaves of peach and nectarine trees in the vernal months; and of cherry, plum, and currant-trees in the summer, produce a swelling and elevation of the cuticle of the leaf on its upper side, and consequent curling of it with its upper surface outwards, which terminates in a destruction of it, [...]
- 1952, Norman Lewis, Golden Earth: Travels in Burma, London: Jonathan Cape, →OCLC; republished London: Readers Union; Jonathan Cape, 1954, →OCLC, page 120:
- On we went in this way, mile after mile, over hills and through valleys inundated with a frothing, vernal vegetation and filled with the odour of newly watered ferns in a glasshouse.
- 1963, J P Donleavy, A Singular Man, published 1963 (USA), page 115:
- Something about the hoot of the vessel entering the river, made George Smith shiver. Two weeks of rain storm and hurricane. For three days Miss Martin could not get to work because of flooding in the subway. And suddenly it stopped. Sun up, clear sky, air fresh, all vernal on the first day of May.
- 2015, Brian A. Pavlac, “Liberation of Mind and Body: Early Modern Europe, 1543 to 1815”, in A Concise Survey of Western Civilization: Supremacies and Diversities throughout History, 2nd edition, volume 2 (1500 to the Present), Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, →ISBN, page 223:
- A religious problem unexpectedly triggered the invention of modern science. [...] According to the Julian calendar, the first day of spring (the vernal equinox, when the hours of day exactly equaled those of night) should occur around 21 March. By the fifteenth century, the vernal equinox fell in early April. The church feared that this delay jeopardized the sanctity of Easter (which was celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox). The Counter-Reformation papacy, eager to have its structures improved and reformed, called on intellectuals to come up with both an explanation about the Julian calendar's errors and a solution.
- (figuratively) Having characteristics like spring; fresh, young, youthful.
- 1728, James Thomson, “Spring”, in The Seasons, London: […] A[ndrew] Millar, and sold by Thomas Cadell, […], published 1768, →OCLC, page 44, lines 1168–1171:
- When after the long vernal day of life, / Enamour'd more, as more remembrance ſwells / With many a proof of recollected love, / Together down they [the seasons] ſink in ſocial ſleep; [...]
- 1764, William Shenstone, “Elegy XIII. To a Friend, on Some Slight Occasion Estranged from Him.”, in The Works in Verse and Prose, of William Shenstone, Esq; Most of which Were Never before Printed. In Two Volumes. […], volume I, London: Printed for R[obert] and J[ames] Dodsley […], →OCLC, stanza 2, page 45:
- Ah me! too ſwiftly fleets our vernal bloom! / Loſt to our wonted friendſhip, loſt to joy! / Soon may thy breaſt the cordial wiſh reſume, / Ere wintry doubt its tender warmth deſtroy.
- 1827, [John Keble], “The Circumcision of Christ”, in The Christian Year: Thoughts in Verse for the Sundays and Holydays throughout the Year, volume I, Oxford, Oxfordshire: […] [B]y W. Baxter, for J. Parker; and C[harles] and J[ohn] Rivington, […], →OCLC, page 47:
- Art thou a child of tears, / Cradled in care and woe? / And seems it hard thy vernal years / Few vernal joys can shew?
Usage notes edit
Vernal is used mostly in technical contexts (as in e.g. vernal equinox) or poetic contexts. In everyday language, attributive use of spring predominates, as in spring colors, spring flowers, spring equinox.
Alternative forms edit
- vernall (obsolete)
Coordinate terms edit
- (pertaining to seasons): summer: aestival/estival, summery · autumn or fall: autumnal · winter: brumal, hibernal, wintry
Derived terms edit
- sweet vernal grass
- vernal conjunctivitis
- vernal crocus
- vernal cyclamen
- vernal equinoctial
- vernal equinox
- vernal gentian
- vernal grass
- vernal keratoconjunctivitis
- vernal orobus
- vernal point
- vernal pool
- vernal sandwort
- vernal season
- vernal sedge
- vernal speedwell
- vernal squill
- vernal stargrass
- vernal starwort
Related terms edit
Further reading edit
- vernal (disambiguation) on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
- Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “vernal”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
vernal m or f (plural vernais)
- vernal (pertaining to spring)
vernal m or f (masculine and feminine plural vernales)