Warm weather in the forecast has a few people using the term “Indian summer.” I have never liked or understood the term, but this use is certainly premature.

Traditionally, this term has been used to describe a period of sunny, warmer-than-average autumn weather after the first hard freeze. Leaves are beginning to turn color but there has been no frost or freezing weather so far. A couple of warm days this week should not qualify. In any case, the origin of the term “Indian summer” is not precisely known.

One theory is that it dates back to early European settlement of New England and may have referred to a warm period after early fall snow when the bare ground would allow for Indian travel and possibly a late-season attack. Interestingly, there is no known converse term such as “Settler summer” for when Native Americans would need to be concerned about the settlers attacking their villages.

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