ninth month of the Muslim year, period of the annual thirty-days' fast, 1590s, earlier Ramazan (c. 1500), from Arabic Ramadan (Turkish and Persian ramazan), originally "the hot month," from ramida "be burnt, scorched" (compare Mishnaic Hebrew remetz "hot ashes, embers"). In the Islamic lunar calendar, it passes through all seasons in a cycle of about 33 years, but evidently originally it was a summer month.
1705, "phase of the moon, particular recurrent appearance presented by the moon (or Mercury or Venus) at a particular time," back-formed as a singular from Modern Latin phases, plural of phasis, from Greek phasis "appearance" (of a star), "phase" (of the moon), from stem of phainein "to show, to make appear" (from PIE root *bha- (1) "to shine").
Latin singular phasis was used in English from 1660 for each of the aspects of the moon. General (non-lunar) sense of "aspect, appearance, stage of development at a particular time" is attested by 1841. Meaning "temporary difficult period" (especially in reference to adolescents) is attested from 1913.
"low, lowest," applied to tides which have the least difference of height between the flood and ebb, late 15c., from Old English nepflod "neap flood," the tide occurring at the end of the first and third quarters of the lunar month, in which high waters are at their lowest, of unknown origin, with no known cognates (Danish niptid probably is from English). Original sense perhaps is "without power." As a noun from 1580s, "a neap tide," also sometimes in modern use "the ebb or lowest point of a tide."
Dutch schrikkeljaar "leap year" is from Middle Dutch schricken "leap forward," literally "be startled, be in fear." The 29th of February is schrikkeldag. Danish skudaar, Swedish skottår are literally "shoot-year;" German schaltjahr is from schalten "insert, intercalate." The Late Latin phrase was annus bissextilis, source of the Romanic words; compare bissextile.
"pertaining to or derived from Julius Caesar, 1590s, originally and especially in reference to the calendar system that began with his reforms in 46 B.C.E. (superseded by the Gregorian). The masc. proper name is from Latin Iulianus, from Iulius. The Julianists were a sect of Monophysites who held the body of Christ to be incorruptible; they were named for their leader, Julian, bishop of Halicarnassus (early 6c.).
Julian period, a period of 7,980 Julian years proposed by Joseph Scaliger in 1582 as a universal standard of comparison in chronology, consisting of the years of the solar and lunar cycles and the cycle of the indiction multiplied into each other (28 x 19 x 15). The first years of these cycles coincided in the year 4713 B.C., from which the period is reckoned. The first year of the Christian era being found by calculation to correspond to the year 4714 of the Julian period, all previous and subsequent comparisons can be made by simple subtraction or addition. This period is still used in the computations of chronologists and astronomers. [Century Dictionary, 1899]
A necessary process in the Roman calendar to balance the solar and lunar aspects of it. Intercalation was done after Feb. 23 or 24 (the terminalia), every two or four years. Twenty-seven days were intercalated, making a full intercalary month (which included the last four or five days of Februarius), known as mensis intercalaris (and also known, according to Plutarch, as Mercedonius). No one now knows why the intercalation was done in the middle of February rather than after its end, unless it was because the important festivals at the end of that month (Regifugium and Equirra) were closely associated with holidays in early March. After Caesar's reform (46 B.C.E.) the only intercalary day is Feb. 29 every four years.
Old English wucu, wice, etc., from Proto-Germanic *wikō(n)- (source also of Old Norse vika, Old Frisian wike, Middle Dutch weke, Old High German wecha, German woche), probably originally with the sense of "a turning" or "succession" (compare Gothic wikon "in the course of," Old Norse vika "sea-mile," originally "change of oar," Old English wican "yield, give way"), from PIE root *weik- (2) "to bend, to wind." The vowel sound seems to have been uncertain in Old and Middle English and -e-, -i-, -o-, -u-, -y-, and various diphthongs are attested for it.
"Meaning primarily 'change, alteration,' the word may once have denoted some earlier time division, such as the 'change of moon, half month,' ... but there is no positive evidence of this" [Buck]. No evidence of a native Germanic week before contact with the Romans. The seven-day week is ancient, probably originating from the 28-day lunar cycle, divisible into four periods of seven day, at the end of each of which the moon enters a new phase. Reinforced during the spread of Christianity by the ancient Jewish seven-day week.
As a Roman astrological convention it was borrowed by other European peoples; the Germanic tribes substituting their own deities for those of the Romans, without regard to planets. The Coligny calendar suggests a Celtic division of the month into halves; the regular Greek division of the month was into three decades; and the Romans also had a market week of nine days. Phrase a week, as in eight days a week recorded by 1540s; see a- (1).
Greek planetary names [for the days of the week] ... are attested for the early centuries of our era, but their use was apparently restricted to certain circles; at any rate they never became popular. In Rome, on the other hand, the planetary names became the established popular terms, too strongly intrenched to be displaced by the eccl[esiastical] names, and spreading through most of western Europe. [Carl Darling Buck, "A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages," 1949]