Now that it's fall in the US, let's examine this little meme. And let's ideally stop sharing it because it's ignorant. I shall explain.
You know me, so you know I ran a search on the Oxford English Dictionary. Results:
"Fall" is a very old English word, and "fall" to mean "autumn" was originally used in Britain as far back as the 1500s and continuing on into the 1800s:
"...now to be subiect vnto summer, nowe vnto winter, now to the sprynge, and nowe to the falle." - John Hooper, bishop of Gloucester and Worcester; 'Godly Confession,' circa 1550
"...leaves...becoming yellow at the fall, do commonly clothe it all the winter." - John Evelyn, English writer; 'Sylva,' 1664
"She has been bled and purged, spring and fall." - Sir Walter Scott, 'Malachi Malagrowther,' 1826
OED says at the start of the entry: "Although common in British English in the 16th century, by the end of the 17th century 'fall' had been overtaken by 'autumn' as the primary term for this season. In early North American use both terms were in use, but 'fall' had become established as the more usual term by the early 19th century."
It also says that it is "a shortening of earlier 'fall of the leaf'." Similarly, "spring" was short for "spring of the leaf," so if you don't make fun of "spring," leave "fall" alone too.
So I think what this meme really means to say is:
BRITAIN: we call it fall because leaf fall down—hang on, no, we must appear more arbitrarily classical-language-oriented than those uppity colonials, so let's use a snotty Latinate word instead. Autumn! It's autumn from now on!( Collapse )