Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


the seventh month of the year, between June and August

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The month of July was named in 44 BC in honour of Julius Caesar, two years after the reform of the calendar which he instituted and which also bears his name. July has been in use since the time of Old English but did not take its present form until the 17th century.


July is the seventh month of the year, although in ancient Rome where the name was first used it was the fifth month. In the northern hemisphere July is a month of high summer and often sees the hottest days of the year. These are sometimes called dog days because they fall around the time when the dog star, generally identified as Sirius, can be seen in the sky just before sunrise or after sunset. The ‘gillyflowers’ mentioned in the verse below are probably wallflowers, although the name is also used for dianthus or pinks which, like wallflowers, have a sweet smell and are more likely to be flowering at this time of year. As for apricots: it’s a lucky gardener who can grow these in the UK, since with our unreliable climate you need a sheltered sunny spot in the south of the country, preferably against a south-facing wall.


Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots and gillyflowers.

(Sara Coleridge, The Months)

Then came hot Iuly boyling like to fire, That all his garments he had cast away.
(Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queen)

Related words

summer, season, calendar

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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