Politics and Elections

August in different languages of Europe, maps, and etymology

Author: Vibor Cipan Published on: July 31, 2022, and filed under Science and health
The word "August" in different languages of Europe – based on etymology.

What are the origins of the word "August," and how is the month of August written in different European languages? This data visualization and blog post answer those and other related questions.

August is the last full month of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. So, as we welcome it, let’s explore how the word August looks in different European languages and its etymology.

Two maps in this article show how August is written in different languages and European countries. The first map shows different language groups and is an interesting overview. The second map shows grouping based on the word etymology.

The word "August" in different languages of Europe – based on language groups
The word “August” in different languages of Europe – based on language groups

Common origin from Latin

The word "August" in different languages of Europe – based on etymology.
The word “August” in different languages of Europe – based on etymology.

Most European languages share the same origin of the word. It comes from Latin augusts meaning majestic, venerable. The month itself was named after the first Roman emperor. Born as Gaius Octavius (an adoptive son of Gaius Julius Caesar), he got the title Augusts from the Roman Senate. To avoid confusion with his stepfather, he started using the name Augustus.

The vast majority of European languages use some variations of the word August. And that holds for languages across different language groups:

  • English, German, Romanian – August, august
  • Spanish and Italian – agosto
  • Greek – Αύγουστος (Avgoustos) 
  • Serbian – aвгуст (avgust)  
  • Turkish – ağustos. 

Even the languages around the Caucasus region follow suit.

  • Georgian – აგვისტო (Agvist’o)
  • Armenian – oգոստոս (oksodos)
  • Azeri – avqust

However, other language groups have different words —notably Slavic and Celtic languages and Lithuanian.

August wasn’t present in the original Calendar of Romulus

Before calendar reform, the original Calendar of Romulus didn’t even mention August

The Calendar of Romulus

English name Meaning Latin Name
1. March Month of Mars Mensis Martius
2. April Month of Aphrodite Mensis Aprilis
3. May Month of Maia Mensis Maius
4. June Month of Juno Mensis Iunius
5. July Fifth month Mensis Quintilis
6. August Sixth month Mensis Sextilis
7. September Seventh month Mensis September
8. October Eight month Mensis October
9. November Ninth month Mensis November
10. December Tenth month Mensis December

Slavic languages

While several Slavic languages use some form of the word august (Slovakian, Slovene, Serbian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Macedonian), others have gone their own way.

Croatian kolovoz comes from kolo (a wheel, a wagon) and voziti (to drive, to transport) and describes the fact that crops were harvested and driven from fields during this month.

Polish, Czech, and Ukrainian share a similar etymology. Their versions come from the word siecle (srp) – a tool used for harvesting crops. And while it’s not the same root, Belarussian жнівень (žniven′) comes from жаць, meaning to reap. It’s all about nature and agricultural activities in Slavic calendars.

Lithuanian and Finnish

The Lithuanian language also relates to agriculture. Its word rugpjūtis derives from PIE *wrugʰyo-; and PBS *rugis (rye) and the verb pjaustyti (to cut), which means the month in which the rye is harvested.

The Finnish language also describes agricultural practices. Their elokuu comes from elo- (to live, crop, grains) and kuu (month).

Celtic languages

Irish (Lúnasa) and Scottish Gaelic (an Lùnasdal) don’t have any relation to the word lune (moon). Instead, they are related to Lugh, an important figure in Irish mythology. He’s related to oaths, the act of swearing, the truth, and the law. Although its etymology is not completely clear, some linguists suggested that it derives from a PIE root *(h2)lewgh- (meaning, roughly “to bind by oath”).

Read more

Don’t stop exploring. You can also learn how the month of May is written in different languages in Europe. And if you want to learn about September and its origin and etymology, you can do that, too!

Author avatar


Vibor Cipan

With over 15 years of professional work in technology, Vibor Cipan is a recognized leader in this field. His contributions at Microsoft, where he earned the prestigious MVP title, set the stage for his roles as CEO and Co-Founder of UX Passion, and later on, Point Jupiter, a data-informed agency. There, he led teams that shaped services for over 400 million users globally. His work spans UX design and software development, driving significant contributions in both fields.

Currently immersed in the generative AI sector, Cipan is taking part in projects revolutionizing software development and user engagement. His expertise extends into data viz, analytics and Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), where he actively develops proofs of concept and explores AI's role in shaping societal dynamics and national security.

An accomplished author and speaker, Vibor continues to share his insights at international venues, advocating for innovation and a richer understanding of technology's impact on society.

You can follow him on LinkedIn or Twitter/X as @viborc.

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