De Omni Scribili

Scribblings Of Ed Wiebe


Talking about the weather is a popular pastime among Canadians. According to Diane Pacom, "Each different region of Canada has developed a romantic rapport with nature according to their own specifications." (CBC).

I find that people in Greater Victoria are very accepting of the grey skies, rain, and chilly winds of winter. For those raised here summer heat inspires complaints, and this for temperatures most Canadians would call only warm. What we like to complain most about though, is the weather in June, especially when the transition to expected warm sunny summer weather is delayed.

Each month I write up a weather summary for UVic. There's a list of them on Lately, I've been have a bit of fun exploring some related topics. In May I looked at the raininess of Victoria Day in Victoria. This month (June 2024) I played around with constructing an index to determine if it was reasonable to call a particular June, Junuary. You can read about that index in June's weather summary. Along the way I tried to figure out when people began to use Junuary. I made some interesting discoveries. Since no one else seems to have done this work, or at not posted about it online, I am documenting what I've found here.

At some point in the early 2000s the portmanteau Junuary, from June and January, became a popular word to use to describe a grey and cool June. The main surge in popularity seems to have been in 2008. The word was around before that though. In particular Juneuary was being used in the northeastern USA as early as 1989. This use, which continues to the present, is the opposite of what I'm investigating. The early use of Juneuary was to describe a warm period in January. There are some references at the end of this page.

Junuary seems to be the spelling people have settled on, over Juneuary. Juneuary was commonly used for a different regional phenomenon before the usage I am describing here. More at the bottom of this page.

Tracking down exactly when and where this usage began has been a fun challenge. I cannot claim these results are definitive. The word appears as a misspelling (very common!) (or OCR error) of January in very many books and websites.

June 21, 2000 is the earliest usage that I have found, and it's from a Vancouver Island newspaper, North Island Gazette: "While commiserating with a fellow North Islander the other day I heard a great word used to describe the wild and wooly weather we've been having: Juneuary."

From the North Island Gazette, 2000-06-21.
The word appears online the following year in a comment on a blog, a comment that appears to originate in Seattle, USA (the poster writes, "Go Mariners"). Then, there's a gap of a few years and the word reappears again in 2008 in the Puget Sound area.

At the moment I'm writing this page the Urban Dictionary has it's earliest post on the word from 2008-06-11, "I better break out my sweater since it's Junuary 1st in the Puget Sound."

Wiktionary says the origin is BC, Northwestern USA, and uses a 2010 quote from a Vancouver Island free publication, "The warmth of the hoop house is welcome given the cool of this mid Junuary day." This site may require uses to be in print, not online.

Other early uses

Warm January

The use for a warm January definitely predates the cool June. I don't know if the word was coined twice or if people had feet on both sides of this. Here are some examples.

This page took 0.4 milliseconds to generate.