33

wintry: characteristic of winter, esp. in feeling or looking very cold and bleak: "a wintry landscape".

summery: belonging to or characteristic of or occurring in summer; "summery weather";

What are the words that mean characteristic of spring and autumn, respectively? For example:

a springly landscape; an autumnly landscape

What about American English, where one uses fall instead of autumn?

  • 8
    American English uses both fall and autumn. – Kit Z. Fox Mar 20 '12 at 15:36
  • 1
    @KitFox: Do all Americans use it interchangeably or is it a regional thing? – Armen Ծիրունյան Mar 20 '12 at 16:56
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    @ArmenTsirunyan: Both terms are well understood by any American English speaker, though some may use one in preference over the other. I suppose region may be a factor, though for certain phrases it probably just comes down to phonetics. For example, you are unlikely to hear "fall leaves", but both "fall foliage" and "autumn leaves" are common in AmE. – John Y Mar 20 '12 at 21:38
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    To me in Northeast US, autumn feels more formal, fall is what I would use most of the time. – Scott McIntyre Mar 20 '12 at 21:40
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    Well, "springy" and "fallen" of course :-) No, actually, the only reasonable answers to this question are "vernal" and "autumnal". – user16269 Mar 21 '12 at 10:30
39

A great thing about English is its rich lexicon. These are the seasonal adjectives that come to mind:

Incidentally, two of the above also have verb forms: hibernate and estivate.

  • +1 I like this mostly because I learned that there is an opposite to hibernation and some animals sleep when it's hot! – James Webster Dec 18 '13 at 15:38
52

We would probably say springlike or vernal (more technical) to refer to spring.

For autumn (fall) we would say autumnal or fall-like.

  • 15
    +1 autumnal; I think fall-like sounds atrocious, but then I don't use fall anyway. – Useless Mar 20 '12 at 17:28
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    in particular, autumnal and vernal are the traditional names for the March and September equinoxes, respectively. Both are derived directly from the Latin names for the seasons. – KutuluMike Mar 21 '12 at 2:28
12

Most common case is that people would just use the season name in the adjective sense, e.g. "spring flowers", "summer weather", "fall leaves".

If you do need a single word that evokes the meaning that it is characteristic of the season yet not of the season, then "spring-like" is your best bet. But in common usage, that meaning is established by context, as in "spring flowers in the winter."

  • 1
    +1 for using the season name in the adj. sense. -1 for '"spring-like" is your best bet.' Isn't 'vernal' better? – LarsH Mar 20 '12 at 21:12
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    @LarsH: Fair enough... sometimes it's unclear whether people want a word because they're learning English, or because they want to write flowery poetry, and the answers are quite different. I don't think I've heard "vernal" used except with the equinox... ever. – Scott McIntyre Mar 20 '12 at 21:39
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    good point - what is "best" varies a lot depending on the need. +1 – LarsH Mar 20 '12 at 21:43
  • Great! Very thoughtful. – haha Mar 10 '18 at 20:08
2

As smackfu pointed out, one can simply use fall or spring as an adjective:

That was beautiful fall weather yesterday.

She's wearing a pretty spring jacket.

That said, I might use fall-like when I'm referring to fall, but it isn't autumn:

In October: That was beautiful fall weather yesterday.

But, after an unseasonably cool day in early August: That was beautiful fall-like weather yesterday.


References: M-W lists fall (3) as an adjective; wordnik lists some example uses of fall-like

1

Colloquially, I often use springy. It's a bit tongue-in-cheek, and can reflect the levity of the season, having just emerged from winter:

It's feeling very springy today.

Unfortunately, "fall-y" doesn't really work, unless you're working at a pun.

protected by RegDwigнt Mar 22 '12 at 10:49

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