Dropping temperatures, gold to rust-red leaves, and dwindling daylight are only a few of the markers for the presence of fall — or autumn, as it’s also called. It’s a beautiful transition that most of us embrace with open arms. The word itself, fall, is Germanic in origin, though its precise derivation is unclear. It could be the Old English fiæll or feallan, or the Old Norse fall, all of which have the meaning “to fall from a height,” much like the turning leaves. So in honor of this transitional season, here are 10 of the best fall words to get you in the mood.
Brisk, fresh and invigorating are all great ways to describe the feeling of crisp fall air. It’s a word that is both succinct and polite, and it perfectly describes a day that is neither warm nor freezing (that comes later). Morning walks in the park, tweeting birds and a crunchy layer of frost on the grass are all quintessential visuals of crisp fall weather.
Foliage, as a representation of leaves, flowers, and branches, is a word intimately related to fall. As the days grow shorter, leaves stop producing chlorophyll (the green pigment responsible for their color) and eventually drop. Beautiful shades of yellow, gold, orange and red dot the trees and pepper the ground during these cool fall days.
To combat the new wave of cold, it’s essential to achieve the optimum balance between crisp and cozy. Peak coziness is marked by contentment, comfort and warmth. It’s cradling the hot cup of coffee in your hands, covering your legs in a blanket, or settling into a warm meal.
Also known also as squash or winter’s squash, the pumpkin is a truly iconic fall fruit (that’s right, it’s technically not a vegetable). It’s also surprisingly versatile, with many qualities and uses. You’ll find that the majority of the pumpkin is edible, from its fleshy shell to its leaves, and even its seeds inside, which makes it a great ingredient for an array of sweet and savory dishes. The word pumpkin originates from the word pepon, which is Greek for “large melon.”
Speaking of pumpkins, fall would be incomplete without the celebration of Halloween right in the midst of the season (October 31). The word Halloween is a contraction of Hallows’ Even or Hallow’s Evening, meaning Saints’ evening. In some parts of the world, the original Christian tradition of visiting churches and lighting candles on the graves of the dead is still very much alive, while in others it has been turned into a commercial and secular celebration for costume parties, trick-or-treating and jack-o’-lantern carving.
Another widely celebrated day is the national holiday of Thanksgiving in the United States, Canada, Liberia and parts of the Caribbean, with Germany and Austria also having similarly named holidays. It has roots in religious traditions and came about as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest, even though it’s mostly celebrated as a secular holiday today. Naturally, the much-loved and traditional dishes for Thanksgiving are the roast turkey and pumpkin pie.
Since we’ve mentioned it, the pie must also cop a spot on the list of top fall words. The beauty of this baked dish with a pastry crust is that it can be filled with just about anything your heart desires. Perhaps a warming chicken and leek, custard or plum, or maybe a creamy scalloped potato variety? In the fall, a few of the delicious and popular filling options are mushrooms, turnips, potatoes, pumpkin, rhubarbs, plums and apples!
While oranges are still in season for fall (namely the late-blooming Valencian orange), the color is particularly what warrants a mention on this list. Right between yellow and red on the color spectrum, the color orange is actually named after the fruit. It’s the color of seasonal vegetables, autumnal leaves, warmth and fire, and is often associated with amusement, aromas and the unconventional. It’s also our favorite color here at Babbel!
As squirrels sense cooler weather setting in, they begin to gather and save food. When you see these furry little creatures collecting and burying nuts during this time of the year, it’s because they’re preparing for winter — after which they wake up and retrieve the food they’ve buried. It’s also not uncommon to see them grow twice in size during this time. Oh, and if you were wondering, the name squirrel comes from the Old Greek work skioros, meaning “shadow tail.”
The final word on this list of fall words is the mushroom, our favorite (sometimes edible) part of fungi. This word made our list because a popular fall activity is to go mushroom picking, or mushrooming, to gather edible varieties for cooking. In case you were curious, the word mushroom goes back centuries, and you can see words such as mushrom, mushrum, and mousheroms in regular use in English starting from 1400.