Dictionary.com

How Did the Month of May Get Its Name?

may, metal type, vintage letters

If you frequent our posts, you may detect a common theme: behind the everyday nature of common words, surprising meaning and history often lurk. Case in point: this very month of May.

The fifth month of the Gregorian calendar, May, is named after a goddess named Maia. But which goddess named Maia? There are actually two. The Greek goddess Maia was one of the Pleiades, the companions of Artemis. This Maia was the mother of Hermes, the messenger of the Gods. But the Romans had yet another goddess named Maia, who just happened to share a name with the Greek goddess. The Roman Maia was named for the Latin word for large, maius, and she was associated with growth and the spring. As the Romans adopted many elements of Greek culture, the two goddesses became conflated and gave their name to the fifth month.

However, there is another suggestion that the month is not named for these intertwined goddesses at all. The Latin poet Ovid claimed that the month may have been named after the Latin word maiores, ”elders,” to juxtapose it to the month of June, which was named after iuniores, the Latin word for youth.

The month of May entered English from the Old French in the 1000s. In Old English, the month of May and “mother may I” could not be confused because there was another name for the month of May. Sadly, we lost the Old English word for the fifth month of the year: þrimilce. It literally meant “three milkings” because it was the only month of the year when cows could be milked three times per day. May’s confusion with may (the verb) is a small linguistic coincidence, not a meaningful overlap. The verb may came from the Old English word magan meaning “to be able.”

What do you think of the two Maias? Could you go back to using the Old English word instead?

See Also:

176 Comments

  1. Shadow -  September 16, 2014 - 8:20 am

    very interisting

    Reply
    • Maia Amelie -  October 22, 2014 - 2:56 pm

      That who I’m named after, the mother of Hermes.

      Reply
  2. charles -  May 9, 2014 - 10:41 am

    I think the dictionary is awsome all the time.

    Reply
    • Shance -  June 23, 2014 - 3:03 pm

      I also admit. It such a wonderful and interesting article .

      Reply
  3. May -  May 8, 2014 - 2:53 pm

    I found this to be a very interesting article. I was born in May and it is also my name.

    Reply
    • someone -  June 4, 2014 - 10:54 am

      interesting

      Reply
    • Choman -  October 8, 2014 - 1:26 am

      nice coincidence !

      Reply
  4. Wayne -  May 5, 2014 - 6:55 pm

    In the fourth paragraph, they misuse the word days.

    Reply
    • charles -  May 9, 2014 - 10:38 am

      I know right

      Reply
    • nool -  June 3, 2014 - 11:55 am

      Not really they are saying the cows can be milked 3 times in one day.

      Reply
  5. Michael -  May 5, 2014 - 11:43 am

    I love the Dictionary.

    Reply
    • Michael -  May 5, 2014 - 11:43 am

      I love the month May.

      Reply
    • charles -  May 9, 2014 - 10:39 am

      I do to. I think it is awsome.

      Reply
    • charles -  May 9, 2014 - 10:42 am

      I do to

      Reply
  6. Regina Clarke -  May 3, 2014 - 7:51 am

    What a lovely post. I would very much enjoy using the Old English word for May!

    Thanks for this.

    Reply
  7. Cynthia Sanford -  May 1, 2014 - 12:08 pm

    I often wonder were the names of days, and the months come form , my name means moon goddess is my understanding.

    Reply
    • Cody -  May 3, 2014 - 4:41 pm

      If you excuse the much intended irony and more generally, word play, for a moment: where on Earth did you get the notion that Cynthia or Sanford has anything to do with the moon or a goddess?! I’m not going to directly claim you are trying to place titles of grandeur on yourself, but unless that is not your name, no, it has nothing to do with the moon nor goddesses or gods. Moon would be luna (hence lunar eclipse) in Latin and in fact Luna WAS (“was”) the Roman goddess of the moon. And as for goddess in general… well, what can you really suggest? It has its own meaning and so many of them are named after things that don’t suggest god or goddess by themselves (e.g., Venus, which note how there’s the planet and how it is also a goddess).

      Hint: try behindthename.com if you’re truly curious about your name. Of course, there could always be other meanings (sentimental values that your parents had for example) but…. no, just no, your name has nothing to do with the moon or any goddess.

      Reply
      • Cesar -  June 11, 2014 - 8:37 pm

        You shouldn’t really comment with no prior knowledge. As John said, Artemis, the GREEK goddess (not Roman) of the Moon, was born on Mt Cynthus. For this reason, the mountain is sometimes associated with the Moon, and therefore, Cynthia’s right. And also, the reason Venus is named after the Roman goddess is because of it’s colour, which remind us of love. Just like Mars is named after the god for it’s blood-like colour, and so on. So yes, the planets ARE named after gods (particularily Roman gods).

        Reply
      • Carolyn -  June 13, 2014 - 8:17 pm

        OMG! Who are you to judge and to determine who and what a person feels or thinks about the ‘possibility’ that their name mabye has come from a place in history that has and most likely will always have a deep,mystery to it.That unless you personally can travel thru time and you have a direct link to the ‘Godesses and Gods of our existence,go dictate somewhere else.This is a topic that people will start pushing their religious beliefs on others as fact.Whether something is written or not,as history or future,a great phrase(don’t know Facts as to where it originated from)”Live and Let Live” is so often cast aside to impose a will over someone else.There is a lot I don’t know about this world or people,but I know what I ‘Feel’.I know every one has that as well,but it’s been forgotten with harsh words of judgement.My ‘opinion’ and ‘feeling’ is that ‘Mans’ (which should really be ‘Human Beings’) belief system can be so self centered,narrow minded,and volitile,is so hell bent on trying to enforce certain ways of living and even thinking,that wars are constantly being fought because of this.I think we might be the only species on earth that will kill or torture simply for how someone thinks.By the way,this is simply my “opinion”,but feel strongly about.No disrespect intended.

        Reply
    • Wayne -  May 5, 2014 - 6:56 pm

      You spelled from wrong.

      Reply
      • jacob -  May 6, 2014 - 12:19 pm

        I know what you are saying but who says there is another moon goddess in history?

        Reply
  8. Callie -  July 25, 2013 - 10:24 am

    That last comment was my friend

    Reply
  9. Callie -  July 15, 2013 - 2:28 pm

    Stop talking about unicorns u have always been weird

    Reply
  10. Callie -  July 5, 2013 - 5:02 pm

    Um this is kinda getting annoying. Going back and fourth arguing about “this” isn’t gonna get us anywere so let’s just talk about the happy parts of our lives. Let’s leave the let downs and the breakups behind and talk about rainbows and unicorns. Who’s with me?! :)

    Reply
  11. seyi -  June 14, 2013 - 3:01 am

    As for me, the ancient greeks and romans named the months with what was available for them. Saying the word May, June is not a sin, but believing in this gods is. Whether or not they exist is none of my business. All i know is that i will follow Christ till the end of the world world. As for the non-believerit is true Christ has given us a choice, but He still wants the best for us. I pray for you that the spirit of God will touch your heart. Let me tell you a simple story, i become a christian at age 15(not that i wasn’t one before, but i was not a correct one). Christ accepted and cared for me. I wanted to be excellent in all my studies, so i prayed. And oh , He answered. Any time i read, His spirit would lead me to the topic that would come out. I excelled beyond my imagination. Recently, i had my sweet sixteen get together. I was in need of a gown and a sandal. One evening, my dad camr home with a gown (which was unusual). A week to my birthday, i was worried cause i had no sandal. And to my surprise, i was given 2 sandals as a gift. You see my friends, where ever you are, God exists. I want to be a psychologists, it does not mean i hate God, actually, He told me to read that course. Lets not discriminate one another, instead , share God’s love to all men. Thanks. Remain blessed.

    Reply
  12. Sheila -  June 12, 2013 - 10:48 am

    We do not need to have a huge fight about religion when this was simply about interesting facts. If you believe in Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Buddha, Jewish, Shinto, Tao, Wicca, Greek-Roman, or ANYTHING ELSE, that’s perfectly fine. Believers in science, it’s fine, too. Read the articles, look up info (like those other religions) and JUST DEAL WITH IT!!!!!! Oh, and Callie, my birthday is in December — not that the birthdays matter — they’re fine.

    Reply
  13. Callie -  June 10, 2013 - 6:32 am

    Sorry, it was supposed to say all “of” u guys. I wasn’t trying to cuss anyone out.

    Reply
  14. Callie -  June 10, 2013 - 6:29 am

    All f u guys hav birthdays in May while mine is in December. :(

    Reply
    • jmanf726 -  May 29, 2014 - 2:17 pm

      Mine’s close to urs. January.

      Reply
  15. diane -  June 8, 2013 - 3:25 pm

    Thank you Brian!! My brain was starting to hurt!

    Reply
  16. Callie -  June 7, 2013 - 10:51 am

    Ooh I like wolves! <3 :)

    Reply
  17. Callie -  June 7, 2013 - 10:49 am

    Some of you people sound so stressd out bcuz you’re arguing back and forth about mythology. Just like it but don’t believe in it. It’s simple,you act like it’s so complicated. It’s like that saying “don’t hate the player hate the game” or “don’t hate the bean, hate the soup”. Why does the eleven year old have to put some sense into you?! Ugh!

    Reply
  18. Brian -  June 3, 2013 - 1:13 pm

    Religious talk… yay… just what I wanted to see when looking up etymologies. *rolls eyes*

    Reply
  19. La j -  May 31, 2013 - 1:50 pm

    May we remember that we are probably more likely to be deceive by things in this present day, then our elders that gave us names for things that with out them we would not know a name for such things. May we also remember we are more likely to be deceived in this day, being that they (our elders) were living in the era closer to the truth. Great article! May we acquire knowledge with an open mind to all possibilities.

    Reply
  20. Nassoro Mawala -  May 30, 2013 - 1:33 pm

    I’m stay far way about that but happy birthday for those people born at this day.

    Reply
  21. ForryShaa -  May 29, 2013 - 8:23 pm

    my child was born in may and we have named her ‘mayni’

    Reply
  22. Diana -  May 28, 2013 - 1:12 pm

    For an article that was written for a thesaurus website, I’m rather surprised to have found a number of grammatical errors.

    P.S. ‘magan’ is related to ‘mögen’ – in Old German it meant ‘can’ as well!

    Reply
  23. Itazura -  May 28, 2013 - 9:08 am

    The Hindu goddess of Illusion is called “Maya”. This is the true etymology of the month of May. So now you know.

    Reply
  24. wolf lover -  May 27, 2013 - 4:21 am

    If we know about the ancient Greek/Roman mythology, we will know more about Christianity. What’s the big deal, anyway?
    YAY, JOSHUA!!!

    SAVE!
    THE!
    WOLVES!

    If you agree with me, post http://www.runningwiththewolves.org as your website.

    Reply
  25. Randall -  May 27, 2013 - 2:57 am

    By the way…
    I just remembered that it’s my birthday tomorrow.
    Happy Birthday to us!!!
    :)

    Reply
  26. Randall -  May 27, 2013 - 2:56 am

    This is so interesting.
    I was born in May, too.
    Thanks.

    Reply
  27. Julia -  May 23, 2013 - 6:55 pm

    My daughter’s named May Angel since she was born in the month of May.

    Reply
  28. Joshua M. L. -  May 21, 2013 - 11:53 am

    This was so interesting although I am christian I am quite interested in mythology. A few of my friends are actually big mythology fans.

    Reply
  29. Puppy -  May 20, 2013 - 10:43 am

    I love learning about Greek Gods and myths <3

    Reply
  30. Avrum J -  May 18, 2013 - 7:24 pm

    In order to avoid all the “unholy” paganism,
    some people choose to speak
    languages devoid of this kind of
    blasphemous lingo and relate in public
    by the tongue of their domicile, speak to their friends in
    another and pray in a third one while others consider this
    colorful cross cultural curiosity.

    Reply
  31. Arianna -  May 17, 2013 - 11:11 am

    Realy Sylva Portoian, right now… where I am, there are grey clouds everywhere? and it was pouring 20 min ago. :(

    Reply
  32. dubstep is boss -  May 15, 2013 - 5:56 pm

    its called MYTHOLOGY people:
    its not real so why worry about it?
    they were just trying to help us learn and not make some whole hissy fit over religion and whats real and whats not
    BTW Paul L i heart your comment

    Reply
  33. Callie -  May 15, 2013 - 2:11 pm

    Anyone like the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series? Or the Heros of Olympus series? Or the Kane Chronicles series? Or all three?

    Reply
  34. Callie -  May 15, 2013 - 2:07 pm

    Anyone like the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series? or the Kane Chronicles series? Or the Heros of Olympus series? Or all three?

    Reply
    • Little Kid -  June 28, 2014 - 6:11 pm

      I LOVE them, so do my friends!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Reply
  35. Callie -  May 15, 2013 - 2:02 pm

    I watch and read about gods (Zeus Thor etc) but I only believe in GOD.

    Reply
    • Little Kid -  June 28, 2014 - 6:11 pm

      Same!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

      Reply
      • anonymous -  September 10, 2014 - 2:04 pm

        Love GOD

        Reply
  36. kmberly -  May 15, 2013 - 10:20 am

    greek gods may not be real in your religion but they are in others and so are the roman gods and maybe some people dont believe in them but their stories hold alot of truth and explain in a way people understand

    Reply
  37. alex -  May 15, 2013 - 5:59 am

    Greek Gods are untrue

    Reply
  38. ediy -  May 14, 2013 - 6:54 pm

    May is summer time in the Philippines. ^.^ wohhh!!! hehehe

    Reply
  39. Rampage -  May 13, 2013 - 2:35 pm

    My birthday is coming up on the 28th

    Reply
  40. Robert Harrison O'Carroll -  May 12, 2013 - 11:18 pm

    It seems European history claims to glorify itself again without bothering to seek more information. Much like those who don’t seek the meaning of themselves or SELF or Creation? To step aside from dead text, books or thoughts (regurgitated ideas), to look around at this creation?

    Even though Greeks or Romans spoke of Maia, the name had already been around for Thousands of years prior in the Hindu Religion.
    Maya(regardless of spelling) had been recognised by Hindu and Mayans Religions. Maya in both cases had a meaning of illusion and naturally many other meanings. By Hindus Maya (Maha=Great, Mahamaya) had the meaning the Mother of Creation of this illusory world we live in. Unlike the demeaning humanified Gods of Romans and Greeks that were slaves to their senses(gluttony,jealousy, lust, greed) the Hindu Gods were nourishing their devotees with blessings to step outside of the dirt from Ego and SuperEGO. To seek thy greater SELF, much like Buddha. You may ask do I subscribe to the Major Religions of today(Muslim,Buddhist, Christian,Jewish, Zen, Sufi, Hindu) ? No I seek what their founder Fathers(Muhammed, Christ, Buddha, Moses, Ganesha) had sought. Eternal Truth something deeper and living breathing Knowledge that resides deep within us Kundalini (Feminine aspect of the Divine, a Primordial Mother) also a name from Mahamaya.

    Reply
  41. Randomness, its what I do -  May 12, 2013 - 12:52 pm

    @ The man who was touched by God and….something with seats, I think:

    What the devil?

    Reply
  42. Paul L -  May 12, 2013 - 10:00 am

    If we can’t say names of gods and goddesses that greeks and romans believed in, we can’t say volcano (Vulcan). We can’t put things in chronological order (Kronos). We can’t look through a telescope and see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto. Let’s forget that the earth rotates around the sun in a heliocentric orbit (Helios) and not think about continental drift and how the earth used to be in one massive supercontinent, Pangaea (Gaea). Let’s destroy Athens (Athena) the capital of Greece. Is all this really necessary?

    Reply
  43. joe6814 -  May 10, 2013 - 4:40 am

    þrimilce is impossible to spell with normal keyboard (i Ctrl+c )

    Reply
  44. the truth -  May 10, 2013 - 3:17 am

    Ok … first of all, there is nothing wrong with different religions. Everyone has a right to speak their mind. Like the saying goes, “I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” You may not believe in a persons religion, but they have a right believe in it.

    Second of all, if the Greek gods don’t exist, how come we know about them? They don’t have to be real to exist; they exist in our minds. If it didn’t exist, we would know about it and there would be no arguments.

    And finally, why does a simple article about the fascinating origins of the word May lead to World War III? Its just some random information. And really, you brought it all upon yourselves when you clicked on that button and read this article. So stop criticising others.

    By the way, your awesome if you agree with me on these reasonable points. And yes, I spelt everything correctly with the right punctuation; I’m a bit meticulous.

    Reply
  45. Akuto -  May 9, 2013 - 1:45 pm

    As an atheist (which is information I only reveal since everybody else chooses to do so), I am personally fascinated by Greek mythology and their gods, and I find it interesting how much of our own culture derives from it. I would like to happily inform everyone that while my new-found knowledge does change some of my views, it does not change my status as a general non-believer and skeptic. If you want proof, just watch me as I continue to not believe in things that nobody can prove.

    Subtle sarcasm aside, my point is that you should never be afraid to challenge your own beliefs with foreign knowledge. Be you atheist, Christian, or anything in between, we all better ourselves through exposure to the unknown. Heck, I may even give the Bible a read one of these days to be fair, although I’m confident that it won’t convince me of much (but that’s to be discovered!). I honestly believe that if we choose to open our minds and learn from one another, even without disrupting our own individual belief systems, we can learn to love and appreciate each other’s differences. So please, pick up a book you’ve never read, or go outside and talk to someone different. Don’t be afraid to learn and change!

    Have a good day!

    Reply
  46. sunflower -  May 8, 2013 - 4:01 pm

    i think its funny when people argue on the internet and then say that the other has no life when both of them are arguing about an opinion that isn’t right or wrong; it is simply what those people believe, and they should not be persecuted for that

    Reply
  47. Omegabot1 -  May 7, 2013 - 11:24 pm

    I like being born in may :)

    Reply
  48. Maneki Neko -  May 7, 2013 - 2:24 pm

    Maia is not forgotten, just ignored

    Reply
  49. Steve -  May 7, 2013 - 7:24 am

    Thank you for the Poetry Sylva Portoian!

    Reply
  50. Amy -  May 6, 2013 - 3:19 pm

    I was just looking for the definition of May… boy did i get it… so much debate over a word..

    Reply
  51. ZTbhe -  May 2, 2013 - 6:49 pm

    elise e. read the lightning thief by rick riordan and there are about 500 unknown floors in the empire state building so please dont expose half bloods previously unexposed its stress to all (kidding about that last part i stumped my mom with some of this yesterday)

    Reply
  52. Carlos F. Uribe A. -  May 2, 2013 - 3:04 pm

    It´s the first time I use “from DOC to PDF toolbar searcher” and it´s dictionary! Congratulations, it is very interesting and of useful knowledge! Carlos

    Reply
  53. Elli L. -  May 2, 2013 - 11:41 am

    to think i was born on may 4th and my month was named after to goddesses. can you stop naming things after gods and goddesses that are false? stick to one god! romans and greeks! ehole! *facepalm*

    Reply
  54. Jan -  May 2, 2013 - 6:39 am

    MY birthday is in May.
    so,I would like to run away.
    To a sunny place today.

    Reply
  55. Jan -  May 2, 2013 - 6:36 am

    MY birthday is in May. I am a mother and grandmother and Mothers’ Day is in this month. This year it is cold and freezing in this second day of May… But, I think the May day poem is wonderful.

    Reply
  56. KatieKate3 -  May 1, 2013 - 2:31 pm

    What a pity that everyone who visits a site like dictionary.com to learn the etymology or definition of a word can’t take simple pleasure in the information provided! Is it necessary to wring the last scintilla of joy from such a site in an attempt to convert others to one’s religious beliefs? And they are just that: the beliefs of individuals. Didn’t Jesus say, “By your actions they will know you?” or more to the point, Peter said, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” The ancient Greeks and Romans were what we refer to now as pagans. They named the important features of their lives: the days, months, seasons, planets, constellations, etc after what they knew to be powers greater than themselves. I read no comments here that suggested that readers subscribed to a belief in these “pagan” gods and goddesses; rather, I read an appreciation for the enduring power of myth to fascinate and entertain us. I suggest that those who subscribe to a belief in Christ and Satan present their beliefs in a less hostile and critical manner; perhaps their mission to attract others to their beliefs would be more successful if the less-punitive aspects of Christianity were on display. As the old saying goes, “You attract more bees with honey than with vinegar.”

    Reply
  57. Christy -  June 21, 2012 - 7:22 pm

    Well, considering the thorn is not phonemic anymore, no, I don’t think we could go back to the Old English way of saying it…lol

    Reply
  58. Name not mentioned -  June 6, 2012 - 7:14 pm

    wow…thats more to what i know about gods and goddesses….weird how its such a common word yet not many people know this :D

    Reply
  59. dee -  May 24, 2012 - 4:45 am

    @Sylva, thanks for the poem that was so lovely . please tell me more about my mouth MAY

    Reply
  60. me -  May 18, 2012 - 12:34 pm

    Leave it to the human race to turn some interesting information into a war about religion. Silly humans, go take some meds.

    Reply
  61. amused -  May 15, 2012 - 1:11 pm

    I have to say the rantings of some on here amusing. Firstly I think Elise was being sarcastic – hence the smiley.

    Secondly man who was touched by his parents when he was young and is now a raving loony, please get some perspective. Nouns evolve to suit the function of society they serve, not to spread the words of a fictitional character in your holy book.

    Did it never occur to you that yaweh of christianity may be the false one, and not maia? How can anyone truly know anything like that.

    I quite like the sound of returning to the earlier name for the month, three milkings sounds like an interesting way of designating a month.

    Reply
  62. someone -  May 14, 2012 - 3:15 pm

    cool………………..

    Reply
  63. someone -  May 14, 2012 - 3:14 pm

    hi :0

    Reply
  64. Kylee -  May 14, 2012 - 2:14 pm

    Woah! i dident know that!!!

    Reply
  65. anonymous -  May 14, 2012 - 2:12 pm

    actually the latin word for young man is iuvenis, not iuniores. although iuvenis is just nominative singular. there could be other cases or declensions of iuvenis that is unknown to me. but, great article. i never knew that stuff about the gods and the months.

    Reply
  66. poo -  May 14, 2012 - 1:46 pm

    bleh

    Reply
  67. Lucy -  May 14, 2012 - 1:33 pm

    did u know that Maia was the daughter of Atlas and Pleione the Oceanid, and is the eldest of the seven Pleiades.

    Reply
  68. Chell Johnson -  May 14, 2012 - 1:23 pm

    I don’t see why there’s so much fighting about religion on an article about May’s origins. If you’re atheist, good for you. If you believe in God, you have every right to do so. There’s no need to fight over something quite pointless. Anyway, great article!

    By the way, this site is called dictionary.com. If you can’t spell right on this webpage, well, then I feel sorry for you.

    Reply
  69. Disgusted -  May 14, 2012 - 11:19 am

    Why do they allow religious freakazoids like The Man etc, Elsie and Hugh on this site? If it wasn’t for Man, god wouldn’t exist!

    Matias has it right. This place is illusion and to become caught up in it to the point of railing against a name pretty much means you are lost to, what you would call, satan.

    Used to know a guy named Mathias…

    Reply
  70. truthology -  May 14, 2012 - 11:18 am

    @Crystal – While I am a believer in YHWH, the God of the Bible, I by no means believe that it is everyone’s destiny to find Him. He gives each of us the freedom to choose or reject His Words.

    Referring to your Easter Bunny comment:
    YHWH commanded His people in the 1st of His 10 Commandments (that He spoke audibly to the Children of Israel before Moses wrote them down) to not bring any other gods before His face. We are later commanded not to speak the names of foreign gods. Because “Easter” is the name of the Babylonian fertility goddess (also spelled “Eostre”), for a YHWH follower to even say “Easter” breaks that commandment. To break a commandment is to commit “sin”, which is “evil” in His sight. This is beside the fact that lying is also considered evil by YHWH, and lying to our children about the E-Bunny, toothfairy, and Santa Claus, etc., is still lying. Plus, if I were an evil spirit trying to destroy the sanctity of the family, I think that these types of “innocent seeming” lies would be a great way to break the trust a child has in his parent(s). So, if was trying to teach my son about a God he cannot see, and then I lie to him about Santa Claus, whom he cannot see either, he might just believe I am lying about both. (Only my $0.02…)

    So you also see that we who follow YHWH have a a very difficult time in the U.S. because the powers that be decided to use this Roman based Gregorian calendar with months and weekdays mostly named after foreign gods. :-(

    The Hebrews, in the early part of the Bible, simply referred to the months at “1st month”, “2nd month”, “3rd, month”, etc, and to the days of the week as “1st Day”, “2nd Day”, “3rd day”, etc., and “7th Day” was also called “Sabbath” (“Shabbat”, in Hebrew). I believe the Babylonian names the Jews use today came from the time they spent in captivity in Babylon.

    Hope that helps!

    -C.

    Reply
  71. jouster -  May 14, 2012 - 10:58 am

    I would just like to mention to miss, @Sylva Portoian, MD that ‘hart’ is an old english word for stag and loses all meaning if you use ‘hart’ and ‘heart’ interchangeably.

    Reply
  72. Jaymo -  May 14, 2012 - 7:35 am

    Q: If April Showers bring May Flowers, then what do May Flower’s bring?

    A: pilgrims

    Reply
  73. jen -  May 14, 2012 - 6:44 am

    plus…I’m pretty sure if God was that upset about how the word May was established, he would’ve taken matters into his own hands by now…i mean…it has been something like a few thousand years now right? Seeing as he’s not upset, I’m pretty sure i don’t need to be.

    Reply
  74. Vicodin -  May 14, 2012 - 6:41 am

    JUMBO SHRIMP! That is all. >:D

    Reply
  75. jen -  May 14, 2012 - 6:39 am

    I really don’t understand why everyone is so upset about how a word was created….what’s wrong with you Elise & “the man who touched..” blah blah blah? No one is telling anyone what to believe in; it’s just an article on how a word was created. Would you be as angry to know how the word fork was thought up? Probably not….I’m a christian & your rantings are offensive and misplaced. Get over it…if you don’t like how the word MAY came about, start calling the month something you like…see how well it catches on.

    Reply
  76. Ariel -  May 14, 2012 - 5:00 am

    anyone who should have the right to comment here should be educated enough to know (after having studied both western and or/ any christ/god-worshipping religion AND ancient culture; specifically classical greco AND -to a lesser extent- roman) – but, since that margin is evidently slim, it just goes to show why so few articles like this are printed in the news media. period.

    Reply
  77. Bubbles -  May 13, 2012 - 11:40 pm

    right Joshua! I agree wd U.

    Reply
  78. Skylar -  May 13, 2012 - 6:22 pm

    They named a re every day things after gods because to them, they were as real as life its self, and they were being respectful, and loyal to their gods. In no way is that evil.

    Reply
  79. Christina -  May 13, 2012 - 4:12 pm

    whoops wrote it twice :/

    Reply
  80. tina s. -  May 13, 2012 - 2:58 pm

    AMERICANS, WAKE UP!

    Reply
  81. MAY | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  May 13, 2012 - 2:25 pm

    [...] Mother May, Oui — Take this time — on this Mother’s Day, — compose a Rhyme, — To Mother Earth and Stardust Too, — after many a Verse add this simple one too. — There’s so much more — reflected by space. — To be here now — is Just in this case. –>>L.T.Rhyme [...]

    Reply
  82. Crystal -  May 13, 2012 - 8:32 am

    Elsie E. – if the Gods you refer to do not exist, how can it be evil? We all know the Easter Bunny doesn’t exist. Is the Easter Bunny evil?

    Reply
  83. madscribbler -  May 13, 2012 - 6:34 am

    They shouldn’t allow comments for articles like the one above. I don’t know whether to fight for the right to be the first to comment or to fight over some ideological reference to an interpretation that no one ever intended. Either way, one thing is for sure: people are still just as mature as they were 3,000 years ago.

    Reply
  84. Sayalee -  May 13, 2012 - 3:30 am

    I agree with Elise E.

    Reply
  85. E. -  May 12, 2012 - 7:21 pm

    Prove that, Elise E., their gods didn’t exist and yours does, without any evidence that could have been changed by people.

    Reply
  86. Random Comments -  May 12, 2012 - 5:00 pm

    Isn’t Maia a type of lesser Valar in JRR Tolkien’s The Silmarillion?

    Reply
  87. Bubba -  May 12, 2012 - 4:55 pm

    Gods that don’t even exist?!! Of course they exist. The existance and power of all Gods is engendered and manifested by the people(s) who believe in them and follow their teachings. This goes for Zeus, Thor, Krishna or Christ. Also, you may have noticed how we’ve made GOD(s) in our own image, and not the other way round.

    Reply
  88. THE MAN TOUCHED BY GOD AND HATED BY SATAN.. -  May 12, 2012 - 1:22 pm

    people don’t know who satan is and how he
    OPERATES:
    LIES, THROUGH, myths, big bang theories, using science to prove the bible wrong. but yet you don’t know the spirit of the man behind the science.
    lies of you live for yourself. you die to yourself.
    Lies of if you meditate and take out the good things out of your mind you will be one of God.
    lies of if you meditate and stretch your body in contoured way, you will be at peace.
    through all this things. he STEALS your through identity in God in Jesus name. STeals your true giftings and the supernatural peace of God.. and the super powers that God has bestowed in your spirit..
    STEALS YOUR SALVATION. which my friend if you don’t have, you are a dead man or woman walking…
    SATAN STEALS THE TRUTH AND LEADS NATIONS TO BELIEVE IN SIN, LUST, TRANSGRESSIONS, INIQUITIES, FORNICATION, human PHILOSOPHY, ADULATORY, KILLING, LIES, BLASPHEMOUS WORDS, comparing humans to God. acknowledging human wisdom OVER almighty God’s wisdom.
    through this. HE DISTROY YOU. IN THE PITS OF HELL… THE SECOND DEATH THAT YOUR SOUL SUFFER FOR ALL THAT EVIL YOU CHOSE TO DO WHILE LIVING.. a place where you are tormented night and day…as for me, I AM SAVED BY PRECIOUS DEATH OF THE MOST HIGH..

    SATAN… USES ALL THIS FALSE goddess to deceive mankind.. one thing i can tell you, weather it’s MAY, JUNE, JULY, as long as my heart is not connected to the evil of this names. for in my heart it is a day to keep moving with the Lord. there the evil or myth associated with it, does not hurt me. nor does it matter. because those false gods, the bible talks about saying: “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but principalities and the rulers of darkness in higher places” FOR I KNOW MOST OF THIS
    SPIRIT. they are of satans works. not GOD ALMIGHTY.. for there is one spirit. that is LORD HOLY SPIRIT IN JESUS NAME.. AMEN… DARWIN IS A human being that God bless with scientific gifting. but humans, they want to prove God own works to show that HE wasn’t the one to create.. well then humans of no faith… MAY THE KING OF KINGS SHINE MERCY ON YOU.. and am not talking about a mere human that is dead and gone like darwing. but the risen fire himself, JESUS!! ALLEIUA!!

    greek myths are all false!!! how do i know… because i know the works of the DEVIL. he hates me when i preach the gospel.. he comes in my room to harass me. but in Jesus name. he delivered me… he comes in trances and vision to harass to afflict me with sickness. but in JESUS NAME. AM DELIVERED… if you mentioned any other name.. lol you are as good as dead.. no other name or so called gods or goddess have authority. it as humans that gives satan chance to mess with us… for i have discovered my power in the Lord. and satan like the way he was trying to bother jesus comes after almost all day. but the blood of JESUS. STILL SPEAKS FOR ME.. amen… may, june, july, august. it dont matter. for i can take the word “GO” AND say “go” is associated to the this leaves right here.. and pour some animal blood on it.. and some false spirit will come and inhabit the leaves and thus has become a god… that’s what this
    NAMES ARE ALL ABOUT. but if you don’t associated with it… you have no problem with GOD ALMIGHTY. THE TRUTH HIMSELF… all of you be BLESS…

    Reply
  89. Nick -  May 12, 2012 - 12:07 pm

    dear editor,

    I think you need to add a word to this anecdote.

    “…this very [merry] month of May”.

    with summer just around the corner, are we having fun yet?

    Reply
  90. danfari -  May 12, 2012 - 11:10 am

    What a cool letter, thorn (“þ”) ! English is one of the few tongues I know of that have this so-called “th” sound, and I say let’s bring its written form back in use.

    If you say “t h” together the way it really looks, it doesn’t even come close to the true þ sound.

    Reply
  91. Irock Mor Thanu -  May 12, 2012 - 10:30 am

    Its weird how so much of our culture comes from roman and greek influence, in a way the great empires of the past never did die, they just spread themselves out making the illusion they had disappeared.

    Oh and one more thing, can people please stop being such religion slammers and just enjoy the article? Its immature and annoying.

    Reply
  92. Courtney -  May 12, 2012 - 10:29 am

    Spacedout, Janus is a roman god. There is no greek equivalent.

    Reply
  93. Ib -  May 12, 2012 - 9:40 am

    Þ, þ and eth Ð, ð are letters retained in Icelandic,a hold over Old Norse. Þ, þ is the “th” sound as in “the” and Ð, ð is the sound when we say “this”. Notice where you put your tongue & you’ll find that “th” is different. An Icelandic speaking person will notice an incorrect pronunciation; we don’t and it doesn’t matter.

    Reply
  94. Bobbo -  May 12, 2012 - 7:24 am

    Hurray for Joshua!!!!

    Reply
  95. Nidnat Mystedin -  May 12, 2012 - 6:52 am

    yes there great deal to know how things and names came into being. but the case here is very long indeed. may be we cannot trace back when the naming of this month really happened ? it is associated with the subtle mythologies of very long time back, which is not always plausible for the present time. because the people of this epoch is not very fantasy and myth-driven civilization like before but in lieu they are shaped by the modern changes such as education and they do have different mindset.

    so i suggest that we need to visit history for firmer understanding of the people of past time but we can leave their legacy by using the terms & names they had coined. why to make a mess out of seemingly settled mind of our generations?

    Reply
  96. Jayzee -  May 12, 2012 - 2:57 am

    Western culture has not produced a single original story since the Greeks

    Reply
  97. MARY TORRES $CHA$HIN OUT4 -  May 11, 2012 - 7:26 pm

    @jasmin lol i know thats right u tell that person lol

    Reply
  98. Spacetrucker -  May 11, 2012 - 5:54 pm

    I once knew someone with an “m” in their name.Does that count for anything?

    Reply
  99. SPACEDOUT -  May 11, 2012 - 5:44 pm

    Interesting. January is also named after a Greek God, Janus, the God of Beginnings and Endings, as January marks both the beginning and end of a year.

    Reply
  100. jenn -  May 11, 2012 - 5:37 pm

    my birthday is in May ^v^

    Reply
  101. JOYCE LANCASTER -  May 11, 2012 - 4:19 pm

    PEOPLE THINK AND FEEL DIFFERENTLY

    Reply
  102. Sabrina -  May 11, 2012 - 1:38 pm

    1.think of your crush
    2.make a heart with your hands
    3.then kiss your hand while still making the heart
    4.then put the heart where your real heart is
    5.tomorrow your crush will ask you out
    6.this will only work if u post this on your favorite article

    Reply
  103. sherryyu -  May 11, 2012 - 1:34 pm

    WOW Dict.com is becoming a monthology website get it LOL

    Reply
  104. Maya -  May 11, 2012 - 1:26 pm

    good observation, matias! as a Hindu myself, i know what Maya means. (that is my name after all) LOL but Maya also means magic…

    I was born in May, in fact May 18 is my birthday!
    just 1 more week!
    soooo happy its on a friday!

    LOL bi

    Reply
  105. Tara -  May 11, 2012 - 12:55 pm

    Wow! Getting kind of ugly in here!

    Interesting article!

    Reply
  106. MARY TORRES $CHA$HIN OUT4 -  May 11, 2012 - 12:33 pm

    @trey yes yes it is :)

    Reply
  107. MARY TORRES $CHA$HIN OUT4 -  May 11, 2012 - 12:32 pm

    @BEN happy b-day too you :) how old r u too day?

    Reply
  108. Joshua -  May 11, 2012 - 12:24 pm

    I love Christ, but commenting on how 3000 year old names for days and months are evil seems so ignorant. I read about a Baptist church kicking a charter school out of their facilities for teaching Western history and reading the classics like Homer, which requires learning a little about the Greek and Roman MYTHOLOGY (gods and goddesses). It just shows how ignorant that this church is. The classicists are on the same team as the Christians because the classics are important to their influence on English (CHRISTIAN) literature. You want to introduce people to the theological concepts that show the love of Christ, have them read English history and literature.

    I am a literature major and starting in about 1500 or so , English literary culture became a fusion of references to old Roman and Greek Mythology and biblical influences. Ever hear of Milton’s paradise lost? It is an epic poem about the conquest of Christ our Hero. It is FULL of Greek mythological references, places, gods, etc…. These referents create a new way to make analogies to the epic battle between God and Satan, Good and Evil. Nobody is trying to say “worship Maia”, they are just explaining history of our language. If a four letter word starting with “F” came to mean giving a good gift to your mother in 100 years and nobody remembered the old meaning except a few dictionary buffs, the word would get the stamp of approval from Christ in heaven. You critics of this article are the kinds of closed-minded people who give Christ a bad name because you think that God wants you to pick fights with everyone in his name. Love and Peace are His fruits; leave the month of May alone.

    Reply
  109. Artemis -  May 11, 2012 - 11:47 am

    Elsie and Hugh – It isn’t like these months (and other things) were named in the last couple of centuries. These things were named before Christianity even existed, when the “religion” of the land consisted of these god and goddesses.

    Reply
  110. Darwin Christ Almighty! -  May 11, 2012 - 11:44 am

    Hey, bible-thumpers.

    Please stay the F off the board.

    We come to learn not to be deceived.

    You are aware Christianity is derivative of sources you consider pagan.

    Reply
  111. Naomi -  May 11, 2012 - 9:11 am

    We have a rich history when the myths of different countries are present in our everyday language. I would hate to see only current fundamentalist religiosity as our approved language.

    Reply
  112. Trey Maynes -  May 11, 2012 - 9:10 am

    :) hahaha

    Reply
  113. Trey Maynes -  May 11, 2012 - 9:09 am

    :)

    Reply
  114. Trey Maynes -  May 11, 2012 - 9:08 am

    Thats funny that Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is a real word please comment back to me.

    Reply
  115. reece -  May 11, 2012 - 8:54 am

    My last name is may

    Reply
  116. Tai -  May 11, 2012 - 8:38 am

    Uhm, how do we know if the greek gods don’t exist? I mean it could be that God doesn’t exist and the greek gods do, or the other way around. I guess we’ll find out when we die :/

    Reply
  117. andy brown -  May 11, 2012 - 8:33 am

    i think it’s hepHaestus and if we named everything after the christian god we would have God-day followed by God-day then God-day coming before God-day… get the pattern?

    and we’d spend the whole year in the month of God…

    not very thrilling!!!

    better to stick with the system we have, eh?

    Reply
  118. chameleons!i! -  May 11, 2012 - 8:22 am

    i don’t believe in gods and goddesses! so all of u shut up!!!!!!!!! and secondly milked three times a day?

    Reply
  119. Rogerie -  May 11, 2012 - 7:48 am

    first comment!

    Reply
  120. non ya -  May 11, 2012 - 7:21 am

    haha

    Reply
  121. Jasmine -  May 11, 2012 - 6:05 am

    @dodge stfu u retarded idiot people here are just reading an article here and ur telling them to get a life because of that??? Wtf! that doesnt make any sense what your ignorant self said

    Reply
  122. Ben -  May 11, 2012 - 5:35 am

    Today is my birthday, and I would very much like to be milked three times.

    Reply
  123. Rose -  May 11, 2012 - 5:05 am

    Wow..Not!

    Reply
  124. Sylva Portoian, MD -  May 11, 2012 - 5:02 am

    I love May Month …So I wrote this Poetry…

    May: Merriest Month of the Year

    May is the merriest month.
    It enters harts* softly, knowingly.
    The sky is cloudless, clear and
    The lakes are pearly blue, still.

    Like a newborn baby boy
    Everything looks new—
    The rivers are rushing through
    As the snow happily melts down.

    The land is dressed in green grass
    To feed the wintered, hungry cows,
    Those ringing their flowery-bells
    In the meadow of a Swiss land.

    Trees flapping their happy leaves
    Shadowing the lover’s secret rhymes.
    Roses of every type are budding
    To be forwarded to a lovers lap.

    This is the month of May
    Washing away April’s crazy rains
    So the land is ready for girls
    To be crowned May queens

    To show folklore dances again;
    Dressed in colorful clothes
    Filled with painted flowers
    Circling breaths in happy parks.

    May is a joyful month.
    Frolics with mirth abound.
    If one face disappears, another is near . . .
    Please look upwards see pristine skies.
    You’re in the month of May,
    That means paradise!

    Sylva Portoian, MD, FRCP
    ISBN: 978145001890
    harts: I have delited letter ‘e’ from the Heart for many reasons…
    Medical, Anatomical and Poetic…!

    Read more at http://hotword.dictionary.com/may/#tcSuAwmm5dqlWjiQ.99

    Reply
  125. Sylva Portoian, MD -  May 11, 2012 - 4:58 am

    I love May Month …So I wrote this Poetry…

    May: Merriest Month of the Year

    May is the merriest month.
    It enters harts* softly, knowingly.
    The sky is cloudless, clear and
    The lakes are pearly blue, still.

    Like a newborn baby boy
    Everything looks new—
    The rivers are rushing through
    As the snow happily melts down.

    The land is dressed in green grass
    To feed the wintered, hungry cows,
    Those ringing their flowery-bells
    In the meadow of a Swiss land*.

    Trees flapping their happy leaves
    Shadowing the lover’s secret rhymes.
    Roses of every type are budding
    To be forwarded to a lovers lap.
    This is the month of May
    Washing away April’s crazy rains
    So the land is ready for girls
    To be crowned May queens

    To show folklore dances again;
    Dressed in colorful clothes
    Filled with painted flowers
    Circling breaths in happy parks.

    May is a joyful month.
    Frolics with mirth abound.
    If one face disappears, another is near . . .
    Please look upwards see pristine skies.
    You’re in the month of May,
    That means paradise!

    Sylva Portoian, MD, FRCP
    ISBN: 978145001890
    harts: I have delited letter e from the Heart for many reasons…
    Medical, Anatomical and poetic…!

    Reply
  126. Matias -  May 11, 2012 - 4:47 am

    There is also Maya (illusion), in Hinduism and Sikhism, “the principal concept which manifests, perpetuates and governs the illusion and dream of duality in the phenomenal Universe”. Other revered Mayas include Mayasura, a Hindu demon often known by the name Maya, and
    Maya (mother of Buddha), the mother of the historical Buddha.

    Reply
  127. k.g.parthasarathy -  May 11, 2012 - 3:16 am

    Let statusquo remain. The months, days and years were named pretty long tme. I we under take too much confusion will prevail. Days are different. The number of countries have incresed and begottary in everthing , religion, language,customs, culture etc;;.So they will begin to fight with each other and confusion will result. The Gregrion callender is generly followed by all for official purposes although each country followw their own version of months and years.

    Reply
  128. mariam -  May 11, 2012 - 2:02 am

    gods are smaller,so there is no big deal.something has to be named after someone

    Reply
  129. Latin! -  May 11, 2012 - 12:02 am

    “Maius” technically means “greater” or “larger.” It is a comparative adjective derived from the positive adjective “magnus, magna, magnum,” meaning “great” or “large.” (The superlative form, “greatest,” is “maximus, -a, -um, from which the English “maximum,” “Maximilian,” etc. come from.)

    Reply
  130. Lee Eisenberg -  May 10, 2012 - 11:27 pm

    It’s too bad that English dropped thorn (Þ, þ) and eth (Ð, ð) from the alphabet.

    Reply
  131. D. W. -  May 10, 2012 - 11:11 pm

    both Elise E. and Hugh C are ridiculous there’s nothing evil about the ancient gods and goddesses in fact many christian celebrations are based on ancient pagan holidays and rites.

    Reply
  132. Robert -  May 10, 2012 - 8:56 pm

    Elise E., that’s right, names of gods that don’t exist can be found everywhere in our language. Especially that one fictitious god in the bible.

    Reply
  133. Kara -  May 10, 2012 - 8:51 pm

    My sister’s name is Maia.

    Reply
  134. Jessie -  May 10, 2012 - 8:40 pm

    My middle name is May… xD

    Reply
  135. Kathleen -  May 10, 2012 - 8:08 pm

    I like how so many things are named after Pagan gods or goddesses or Greek/Roman gods or goddesses, like Venus, Jupiter, Pluto, etc. or other gods and goddesses from different cultures. Where do they think up of all these names for their own gods and goddesses?

    Reply
  136. HarLenn -  May 10, 2012 - 7:56 pm

    I know so many people named Maia, it’s crazy!! It’s such a cool name! One of my best friends is named Maia! :) And Vulcan* by the way

    Reply
  137. Fifo P. -  May 10, 2012 - 6:50 pm

    What amazes me is that Elsie E. could read the names come from old history, probably as old as The Good Book, and still fails to notice that we’re part of our own history. That we make names as we create what we need. Where can we go to name the new things that are being invented and discovered daily?
    Thus they did the same back then, only they did not have our experience and culture and general knowledge of things, so they reached for what was available then.
    Nice article.
    Craving for more
    Fifo P

    Reply
  138. starting the car -  May 10, 2012 - 6:23 pm

    Vulcan is the roman god, and hepaestus is the greek god.

    Reply
  139. Me -  May 10, 2012 - 6:22 pm

    there are three firs comments and none of them are actually first ‘,:D

    Reply
  140. Hugh -  May 10, 2012 - 6:18 pm

    I feel like a pronunciation should have been provided for the word “þrimilce”, considering that not all people in the audience recognize the thorn, “þ”, which makes the modern English “th” sound

    Reply
  141. Hugh C -  May 10, 2012 - 6:16 pm

    I agree with Elise E: The reason may be found in Revelation 18:23–a process of Deception…acceptance through familiarity, removing fear and alertness—(numbness) e.g.white magic, good spirit of the dead, changing the need to keep the Ten Commandments, emphasis on Love that’s not supported by Truth as a foundation,etc….

    Reply
  142. person -  May 10, 2012 - 6:13 pm

    I was born in may…

    Reply
  143. Cyberquill -  May 10, 2012 - 5:17 pm

    May is named after Maya the Bee.

    Reply
  144. dodge -  May 10, 2012 - 5:03 pm

    get a life dumassessss

    Reply
  145. Somebody -  May 10, 2012 - 4:18 pm

    Vulvan is the Roman god, not Greek.

    Reply
  146. Shadow Rider -  May 10, 2012 - 3:21 pm

    first comment 2

    Reply
  147. Shadow Rider -  May 10, 2012 - 3:21 pm

    This was very interesting:)

    Reply
  148. Elise E. -  May 10, 2012 - 3:08 pm

    It annoys me that people name our every day things after gods that don’t even exist. How evil. XD

    Reply
  149. ryan -  May 10, 2012 - 2:58 pm

    First comment

    Reply
  150. cicio -  May 10, 2012 - 2:14 pm

    i’m first here

    Reply
  151. EarlOfWarwick -  May 10, 2012 - 12:51 pm

    milked three times a day*

    That is all.

    Reply

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