top of page


Why the Months Make No Sense

A whimsical collage of a woman in the clouds pouring salt on an ancient calendar

Have you ever looked at a calendar and thought, "Well that makes no sense"?

  • October starts with “oct,” but it’s not the 8th month.

  • November starts with “nov,” but it’s not the 9th month.

  • December starts with “dec,” but it’s not the 10th month.

I always encourage people to pay attention to the Greek and Latin roots, but sometimes, they can mislead you! That’s why stories are such a great (and important) part of improving your vocabulary – they can explain the inconsistencies.

And this story, as with so many others, begins in ancient Rome.

You see, when the ancient Romans first implemented a calendar, it had only ten months, plus a bunch of “off” days before the calendar restarted. It makes perfect sense when you think about why they created the calendar in the first place.

The calendar was primarily used to plan farming and agricultural activities, and there were two months a year where you couldn't do much to the soil (January and February, more or less).

That's why the ancient Roman calendar began in March (in honor of Mars, the god of war, of course). So to them, the numbers and words matched up perfectly! If March is the first month, then October is the eighth, and so on.

The biggest change wasn’t adding January and February, though. I explain it all in episode 60 of the Vocabbett podcast! You can listen above or on your favorite podcast player. I’ve also included a little video accompaniment below!

bottom of page