- winter (n.)
- Old English winter (plural wintru), "the fourth and coldest season of the year, winter," from Proto-Germanic *wintruz "winter" (cognates: Old Frisian, Dutch winter, Old Saxon, Old High German wintar, German winter, Danish and Swedish vinter, Gothic wintrus, Old Norse vetr "winter"), probably literally "the wet season," from PIE *wend-, from root *wed- (1) "water, wet" (see water (n.1)). On another old guess, cognate with Gaulish vindo-, Old Irish find "white."
As an adjective in Old English. The Anglo-Saxons counted years in "winters," as in Old English ænetre "one-year-old;" and wintercearig, which might mean either "winter-sad" or "sad with years." Old Norse Vetrardag, first day of winter, was the Saturday that fell between Oct. 10 and 16.
- winter (v.)
- "to pass the winter (in some place)," late 14c., from winter (n.). Related: Wintered; wintering.