yule (n.) O.E. geol, geola "Christmas Day, Christmastide," from O.N. jol (pl.), a heathen feast, later taken over by Christianity, of unknown origin.
The Old English (Anglian) cognate giuli was the Anglo-Saxons' name for a two-month midwinter season corresponding to Roman December and January, a time of important feasts but not itself a festival. After conversion to Christianity it narrowed to mean "the 12-day feast of the Nativity" (which began Dec. 25), but was replaced by Christmas by 11c., except in the northeast (areas of Danish settlement), where it remained the usual word.
Revived 19c. by writers to mean "the Christmas of 'Merrie England.' " First direct reference to the Yule log is 17c. O.N. jol seems to have been borrowed in Old French as jolif, hence Mod.Fr. joli "pretty, nice," originally "festive" (see JOLLY (Cf. jolly)).

Etymology dictionary. 2014.


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  • Yule — ([=u]l), n. [OE. yol, [yogh]ol, AS. ge[ o]l; akin to ge[ o]la December or January, Icel. j[=o]l Yule, Ylir the name of a winter month, Sw. jul Christmas, Dan. juul, Goth. jiuleis November or December. Cf. {Jolly}.] Christmas or Christmastide; the …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Yule — ist der Name folgender Personen: George Udny Yule (1871–1956), schottischer Statistiker Henry Yule (1820−1880), schottischer Orientalist Paul Alan Yule (* 1947), Archäologe Yule steht für: Julfest, ein nordeuropäisches Fest der Wintersonnenwende… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Yule — (yo͞ol) n. ▸ Christmas or the Christmas season, especially as traditionally celebrated in Northern Europe and North America with customs stemming in part from pagan celebrations of the winter solstice. ╂ [Middle English yole, from Old English… …   Word Histories

  • Yule — (spr. jūl), Sir Henry, engl. geographischer Schriftsteller, geb. 1. Mai 1820 in Inveresk bei Edinburg, gest. 30. Dez. 1889 in London, kam als Ingenieuroffizier nach Bengalen, begleitete Phaire als Sekretär an den Hof von Ava, kehrte 1862 mit dem… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Yule — [ju:l] n [U and C] old use [: Old English; Origin: geol] Christmas …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Yule — [ jul ] noun uncount an old word meaning Christmas …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Yule — (also Yuletide) ► NOUN archaic ▪ Christmas. ORIGIN Old English or Old Norse, originally applied to a pagan festival lasting twelve days; related to JOLLY(Cf. ↑jolly) …   English terms dictionary

  • yule — [yo͞ol] n. [ME < OE geol, iul, orig., name of a pagan festival at the winter solstice; akin to ON jol] [often Y ] Christmas or the Christmas season …   English World dictionary

  • Yule — Infobox Holiday holiday name=Yule caption= Juletræslys , a Danish Yule Tree Candle observedby=Northern Europeans and Various Anglosphereans date=Northern Hemisphere: circa December 21 Southern Hemisphere: circa June 21 celebrations=Festivals,… …   Wikipedia

  • Yule —    This word, in various spellings, means a loosely defined midwinter period (not a single day) in the early languages of most Germanic and Scandinavian countries. Bede, writing of pagan England, mentions two months, early Yule and later Yule ,… …   A Dictionary of English folklore