Autumn is one of the most beautiful words in the English language.

Like an appoggiatura in music—a dissonance that resolves into a consonance—

the somewhat irregular au passes into the smooth mn sound in a most wistful way. It conveys its seasonal meaning, but also suggests an emotional connection to the senses of color and scent and coolness that is uniquely autumn in New England.

Its root—autu—is Etruscan and connotes the passing of a year as it relates to harvest. The Romans then added mnus to create the Latin word autumnus. However, the French removed the laggard us to give us the world l’automne, which English speakers transposed into the more succinct, perhaps prettier, autumn.

Be glad that this lovely word for the season of harvests did not evolve from the Greek Phthinoporon or the Gaelic foghar.