The second month in the year, said to have been introduced into the Roman calendar by Numa. In common years this month contains twenty-eight days; in the bissextile, or leap year, it has twenty-nine days.
Origin: L. Februarius, orig, the month of expiation, because on the fifteenth of this month the great feast of expiation and purification was held, fr. Februa, pl, the Roman festival or purification; akin to februare to purify, expiate.
(01 Mar 1998)
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