March 15, 2019
|Word of the
|Definition--to jump or spring
suddenly or with force. Also, to act impulsively or to quickly or abruptly
change from one condition or subject to another.
A leap year consists of 366 days, with an intercalary, or extra,
day on 29 February. A leap year occurs once every four years when the year
is divisible by 4 (e.g. 1996), thus accommodating the extra approximately
quarter-day per year that it takes the Earth to circle the Sun. To further
account for the fact that the Earth's orbit of the Sun is not exactly 365
and a quarter days, leap years do not occur on end-of-century years,
unless the year is divisible by 400.
|Discussion--It turns out a year is
longer than 365 days, and to synchronize our calendar with the reality of
the Earth's orbit requires some periodic "fudging". Leap years take care
of this by leaping February 29th into the calendar every four years
or so whether we like it or not.
One can leap to conclusions or leap at an opportunity. Leap is
used in many other English idioms, such as:
by leaps and bounds means very quickly. Children are often said
to be growing by leaps and bounds.
a leap of faith is the act or instance of believing or trusting
in something intangible or incapable of being proved. For many believing
in leap years require a leap of faith.
|Etymology--Leap comes from
the Old English hleapan. The synonymous term spring also
comes from the Old English, springan. This root can be seen in some
of the translations below.
||année (f) bissextile|
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