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Indian summer

Indian summer is an American term that has also been adopted in Great Britain. We will look at the definition of Indian summer and its possible origins, as well as the British term it has mostly supplanted. In addition, we will examine a few examples of its use in sentences.

Indian summer refers to a specific weather phenomenon. Indian Summer is a period of time in autumn when the days are warm, the nights are chilly and the atmosphere is dry, following the first cold snap. The term Indian summer was first seen in a book entitled Letters From an American Farmer, written by French-American J. H. St. John de Crèvecoeur in 1778. It is unknown how long the term was in use before this publication. There are several theories as to the origin of this word. One theory is that the Native Americans’ favorite time to hunt was Indian summer. Another theory is that Indian summer is a pejorative to describe a counterfeit summer. Nevertheless, the word Indian summer is not considered offensive, probably because it describes something pleasant. In British English, the term for Indian summer is St. Martin’s Summer. St. Martin’s day is November 11th. In Germany the term for this weather phenomenon is altweibersommer, which means old women’s summer. In South America it is known as veranico, which means little summer. Note that the word Indian is capitalized, as it is a proper name.


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Examples

As the warm Indian summer gives way to cool evenings, head to South America and focus on two wines that come from Chile and Argentina respectively. (The Knoxville News Sentinel)

BRITAIN is heading towards the final few days of an Indian summer as forecasters warned temperatures are likely to fall from next week. (The Daily Express)

English already had names for the phenomenon – St. Luke’s Summer, St. Martin’s Summer or All-Hallown Summer – but these have now all but disappeared and, like the rest of the world, the term Indian summer has been used in the UK for at least a century.  (The Daily Mail)

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