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                  1. Word of the Day

                    ides

                    © iStockphoto
                    Liz Potter
                    Written by Liz Potter

                    Definition

                    in the ancient Roman calendar, the 15th of March, May, July, and October, and the 13th of the other months

                    Origin and usage

                    The noun ides was borrowed from the Latin ‘Idus’ in its feminine plural form. It refers to the third of three marker days in the Roman calendar, and first appeared in Old English towards the end of the first millennium.



                    Examples

                    Many of us are aware of the word ides thanks to Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’, in which the leader is warned by a to ‘Beware the ides of March’. Caesar ignores the advice, along with that of his wife Calpurnia, and is duly murdered on that day by a group of led by his former friend and ally Brutus. It is probably because of its appearance in Shakespeare’s play and subsequent life as part of a that ides is a relatively familiar word in English. We remember the Ides of March but may forget or not know that all the other months had ides too: as the definition above shows, the 15th in May, July and October and the 13th in all the other months. Two years before his death Caesar had been responsible for the reform of the calendar and the introduction of a new one that bears his name. The Julian calendar was used in most of Europe and the Americas before gradually being replaced by the devised in the late 16th century. The entry for ides comes from our crowdsourced Open Dictionary and was submitted by a reader in Argentina last year. You can submit words and phrases to the Open Dictionary .

                    Quotations

                    Caesar: What say’st thou to me now? speak once again.
                    Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March.
                    Caesar: He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.”
                    (William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar)

                    Related words

                    BCE, calendar, calendar year, CE

                    About the author

                    Liz Potter

                    Liz Potter

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