fourth month, c. 1300, aueril, from Old French avril (11c.), from Latin (mensis) Aprilis, second month of the ancient Roman calendar, from a stem of uncertain origin and meaning, with month-name suffix -ilis as in Quintilis, Sextilis (the old names of July and August).
Perhaps based on Apru, an Etruscan borrowing of Greek Aphrodite. Or perhaps *ap(e)rilis "the following, the next," from its place as the second month of the old Roman calendar, from Proto-Italic *ap(e)ro-, from PIE *apo- "away, off" (see apo-; compare Sanskrit aparah "second," Gothic afar "after"). Old folk etymology connected it with Latin aperire "to open."
The name was in English in Latin form from mid-12c.; it replaced Old English Eastermonað, which was named for a fertility goddess (see Easter). It was re-spelled in Middle English on the Latin model (as apprile, a form first attested late 14c.).
1680s; see April + fool (n.). April-gowk (from Old Norse gaukr "a cuckoo") is a northern variant. April Fool's Day customs of sending people on false errands seem to have come to England from France late 17c.; originally All Fool's Day (1712). In Cumberland, Westmorland and northern parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire, however, May 1 was the day for hoaxing, and the fool was a May gosling. That custom is attested by 1791.
as an annual ecological awareness event on April 22, from 1970; the idea for it and the name date from 1969.
prolonged TV fundraiser, 1949, from television + marathon (see -athon). Milton Berle's 16-hour television cancer fundraiser in April 1949 might have been the first to be so called.
"traitor," 1917, from Paul Bolo, French adventurer shot for treason April 17, 1918; used in World War I with reference to pacifist propagandists; later somewhat assimilated to Bolshevik (q.v.).
type of wrestling hold, 1875, apparently from a proper or surname, but no one now knows whose.
Presently, Stubbs, the more skilful as well as the more powerful of the twain, seizes the luckless Jumper in a terrible gripe, known to the initiated as the Full Nelson. ["Lancashire Recreations," in Chambers's Journal, April 24, 1875]
village on the west bank of the Jordan River, perhaps from an alteration of Hebrew shalo "to be peaceful." The American Civil War battle fought in western Tennessee (April 6-7, 1862) was so called for being fought around the little Shiloh log church (Methodist), which was destroyed in the battle.
"act or fact of standing in line," 1918, verbal noun from queue (v.).
"Queueing" had really become an equivalent for sport with some working-class women. It afforded an occasion and an opportunity for gossip. ["The War of Food in Britain," in The Congregationalist and Advance, April 25, 1918]