9 Synonyms To Use For “Summer”

These words sum up summer

Ah, summer, one of the most beloved seasons. The days are long, the sun shines bright, and everything is just a bit lighter and more carefree. It’s a shimmering, shining light between spring and fall, and, in the United States, it covers the months of June, July, and August. 

The word summer dates back to before the year 900. It comes from the Middle English word sumer and the Old English word sumor. It’s a cognate with the Dutch word zomer, the German word Sommerand the Old Norse word sumar

As magnificent as it is, summer deserves more than one moniker though. Fortunately, there are some sensational synonyms for this sunshiny season. Here are some of our favorite words for summertime.

dog days

While some people refer to all days in the summer season as dog days, the term is officially reserved for “the sultry part of the summer, supposed to occur during the period that Sirius, the Dog Star, rises at the same time as the sun: now often reckoned from July 3 to August 11.” 

The term dog days is found as early as 1530–40. It’s a translation of the Latin phrase di?s canicul?r?s. The word canicular is an adjective defined as “pertaining to the rising of the Dog Star or to the star itself.”

Click here to find out more about the origins of the dog days of summer.


Balmy isn’t about what the thermometer reads necessarily, but how the weather feels. Defined as “mild and refreshing; soft; soothing,” it may refer to the first warm days of the season or a breeze as it blows off the ocean. It can also be used to describe the fragrant scents of the season. 

Balmy is recorded at least by 1490–1500. It stems from the word balm, which means “any of various oily, fragrant, resinous substances, often of medicinal value, exuding from certain plants, especially tropical trees of the genus Commiphora.”


While you can obviously take a trip anytime of the year, it’s summer that often inspires our deepest wanderlust. Defined as “a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about,” wanderlust hits some of us harder than others, but a summer vacation is often just what we need to quench it. 

Wanderlust is recorded in English at least by 1850–55. It is a German term that comes from wandern (“to wander”). In English, wander means “to ramble without a definite purpose or objective; roam, rove, or stray,” and lust in this sense means “a passionate or overmastering desire or craving.” As for the word vacation, first evidence of it can be found around 1350–1400. It comes from the Latin word vac?ti?, which means freedom from something.” 


There’s a point in most summers when it gets hotter than hot, when it gets downright sultry. It’s defined as “oppressively hot and close or moist; sweltering,” and you know it when you feel it. 

First evidence of the word can be found around 1585–95. It stems from the word sulter, which is a variant of swelter (another appropriate summer word).

WATCH: Why Does The Word "Sultry" Seem Like An Insult?


Is it ice cream and watermelon you crave? Staying up past your bedtime to chase fireflies? Go ahead, summer is a time to indulge!

Indulge means “to yield to an inclination or desire; allow oneself to follow one’s will.” So, if your will is an extra glass of cold wine with dinner, then thy will be done in summer.

Indulge is first recorded around 1630–40. It stems from the Latin word indulg?re, which means “ to be lenient (toward), accede, take pleasure (in).”


If anyone says you’re being lazy just lounging around the pool all day, tell them you prefer to think of yourself as languorous, which sounds much more glamorous. Languor is defined as “lack of energy or vitality; sluggishness,” and summer days are made for it. 

First evidence of the word languor dates back to 1250–1300. It replaced the Middle English word languor, which means “sickness, woe.” 


Summer can be downright intoxicating. And we’re not talking about the effect of one too many margaritas. We’re talking heady summer romances and travel adventures that make us tipsy with delight. 

The word intoxicating is recorded in 1625–35. It stems from the Latin word intoxic?re, which means “to poison.” We hope your summer plans won’t include anyone getting poisoned—drink responsibly, refrigerate that potato salad, and fully cook that chicken!

al fresco

In summer, most everything from dining to dancing is best done al fresco, which means “out-of-doors, in the open air.” Unless, of course that air gets too stifling, and then the A/C may be nice. 

Al fresco is first recorded in English around 1745–55. It’s an Italian phrase meaning “in the cool, in a cool place.”


The smell of sunscreen, the taste of saltwater, the feel of beads of perspiration and all that skin … summer sets our senses on fire as the most sensuous season.

Not to be confused with sensual (though summer can certainly be that too), sensuous is defined as “perceived by or affecting the senses” and is usually used in a positive way. Sensual, on the other hand is defined as “pertaining to, inclined to, or preoccupied with the gratification of the senses or appetites; carnal; fleshly” and is used more often in a risqué or unfavorable manner. 

The word sensuous stems from the Latin word s?nsus. It is first recorded around 1630–40.

All good things must come to an end, though. Do you know when summer officially is over?

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