An Indian Summer for Older Ladies

One of the positives of the recent unseasonal heatwave to hit Britain has been the lack of ‘phew what a scorcher’ headlines.

However, the sight of bright blue skies and sandals in October has had Wordability wondering about the phrase Indian Summer.

Technically, this has not been an Indian summer as it has not been preceded by frost, which is apparently the appropriate precursor. Mind you, it has also not been preceded by American Indian raiding parties, which is suggested as one of the many etymologies of the term.

But given that we are now part of Europe, Wordability thinks it may be time to abandon the colonial term and instead adopt the description used by many of our eastern neighbours. In Russia, an autumnal period of heat is a Grandmother’s Summer, and various other translations and arrangements of old ladies and summer dominate many other countries.

Or maybe we should accept that China is the emerging power, and refer to it as “a tiger in the autumn”.

There is another approach. If our weather patterns are really changing, and summer is now coming in April and September, maybe it is time to come up with a new term. Perhaps we could call it summer. And then May to August could just be called the wet and cloudy bit in the middle.

Or failing all of that, what would be a suitable new phrase? Wordability invites you to decide.

2 thoughts on “An Indian Summer for Older Ladies

  1. Helen Westbrook

    I’m surprised to know that “Indian summer” follows frost. I have always understood that Indian summer takes place in September, and it would have had to have been a worse summer than usual to have had frost in August.

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