While I am reading a 18th c. manuscript, months of september and october are abbreviated as "7ber". I have not come across any other abbreviation for differing them. Can you please help me, is “7ber” September or October?

  • What else can you tell us about the manuscript? (country of origin, who wrote it, what kind of document, etc.) That may have a bearing on how to interpret the abbreviations. – Matt Gutting Feb 9 '15 at 19:59
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    Are you sure it's not 7ber = September? – StoneyB Feb 9 '15 at 20:01
  • yes you are right actually, any clue for 7ber. – s_turk Feb 9 '15 at 20:07
  • it is a Levant Company merchant document, who was in Aleppo in 1704 and wrighting about ship consigments to London. – s_turk Feb 9 '15 at 20:12
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    If it is "7ber" ("septem" being the Latin word for 7), then one would expect "8ber" for October. – Matt Gutting Feb 9 '15 at 20:42

7ber is almost certainly just an abbreviation for September. The months from September through December come from the Latin roots for 7, 8, 9, and 10 (in the original calendar, March was the first month of the year, so September was the seventh month) with -ber appended. So this abbreviation simply replaces the Latin root with its actual number.

This is similar to using 7th as an abbreviation for seventh, except that it's based on the original derivation of the word rather than its current meaning.

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    And to think people complain about youngsters using l8ter, 4u or face2face in text messages. It's traditional! – oerkelens Feb 9 '15 at 21:35
  • "Julian calendar" is wrong. You mean the archaic form of the republican calendar. – fdb Feb 9 '15 at 23:31
  • @fdb I just assumed it was Julian, because of the Latin names and him being a Roman emperor. I changed it to just say original calendar. – Barmar Feb 9 '15 at 23:33
  • The -ber isn't really just a -ber. It's a haplologised version of -member, which is an r-stem derivation of mens- ‘month’. So septem(mem)ber is ‘the seventh month’, quite literally. (It is regular for *s to become *b before *r in Latin.) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 9 '15 at 23:50
  • Regardless of where it came from, it's -ber now. And that just gets copied into the abbreviation. – Barmar Feb 9 '15 at 23:51

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