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Honeymoon and Mead[edit]

I found several 19th century citations for this etymology, so it is not an 'internet rumor.' It may not be accurate, but those defending this etymology go back at least two centuries. I added an 1801 reference to the entry, as it was the oldest I could find. [1] Gavroche42 (talk) 14:19, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

I've always heard that the first full moon after the summer solstice is known as the "mead" or "honey" moon due to the fact that the beehives are ripe with honey during this time. The coincidental association of this time being a popular month of betrothal is where the modern term, honeymoon, comes from. (This info is not confirmed.) Bsnidow (talk) 04:19, 24 June 2010 (UTC)Barry Snidow

Claims to the effect "it is not known that p" are rather easy for us to affirm if we ourselves don't know, and have an inherent plausibility that claims to the effect that "it is known that p" do not as often have. But it could, for all I know, be false that no one knows the origin of the word "honeymoon" or of the institution of the honeymoon more or less as it is now conceived; maybe historians or others who know about such stuff could tell us definitively. --LMS

I had always heard the explanation for the name as first documented from an old middle english book, however it is usually commented that this is the first "documented" record of a practice called the "honeymoon". Since the meaning is referred to rather than word coined, I would assume it was in at least some common use by the time the author wrote about it. Some nonauthoritative internet sources have claimed the honey mead story to be false.

As for the origination of the practice, there are several mutually contradictory sources going around.

If someone states emphatically that they know the origin of the word or the practice, I would prefer some documentation backing it up, since no one else on the internet seems to have any. In the meantime, perhaps "disputed" is a better word? --Alan D

To ease decipher the origins, maybe it's helpful to look at a few more languages for this expression. In Hungarian, the appropriate words are mézeshetek, approx. "weeks of/with honey". In German, it's Flitterwochen, "glittering? weeks". It's easily conceivable that the -moon can refer to either the waning and of affection, or the duration itself. After all, Month also stems from Moon, in many languages. Honey- can easily refer to the sweetness/greatness of the new love, or some actual food/drink of honey. From these three languages, the greatness/sweetness meaning looks favorable for honey-, and the timespan meaning for -moon. But of course it's uncertain who borrowed from who, or that there is a single "real" origin at all.

In French it is lune de miel, or month of honey. Same as in Spanish. Not terribly helpful... In Swedish it is smek|månad, or literally caress month. In modern Norwegian it is bryllupsreise, or literally wedding trip. I cannot find an Icelandic translation... but I find that all VERY odd. If the origin of the phrase is old Norse, why is the modern word in the modern derived languages so close to a figurative translation from English? I also find it very odd that there are no hits for the word hjunottsmanathr online that do not mention the honeymoon myth. In fact, I cannot find the word in ANY online Old Norse dictionary. It smells like a big huge hoax to me. Im going to change it to say that the Norse origin is highly dubious, unless somebody can come up with good evidence to the contrary. --Bex 17:53, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)

tweaked it, and mentioned the fact that the second origin was based on a Babylonian tradition... and that the norse and babylon origins are most likely false. --Bex 18:07, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Took it out. Here it is, not worthy of the encyclopedia in its present form:
Another explanation is that there was supposed to be an old Babylonian practice that involved drinking mead, a honey-based alcoholic drink, for a lunar month after a marriage.
A third explanation is that the term is a vulgarization of the Norse word hjunottsmanathr. After kidnapping one's bride, she was kept hidden away until pregnant or her family stopped looking for her, and then was brought back to formalize the wedding.
The latter two theories are based mostly on internet rumor, and are as of yet unsubstantiated by any scholar of Babylon, or Old Norse. They should both therefore be considered extremely unlikely.
There is nothing in the article about the origin of the custom itself. Ortolan88 06:33, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I posed the question about the "hjunottsmanathr" on the Danish article's discussion page, in Google-translated Danish and in English, and maybe they'll be able to help. I couldn't find a Norwegian article or any other Nordic articles. My BS detector is almost never wrong about Internet hoaxes; soon we may know the answer :) Tour86rocker (talk) 22:44, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

why shouldn't the (most likely) false explanations be left in there? There is plenty of misinformation in books and on the internet regarding the etymology of the word, so I think these alternate explanations should be mentioned, along with why they are not considered credible. ESPECIALLY since the reason why this page was cited in external media was explicitly BECAUSE of that false information that used to be here. --Bex 20:40, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Could someone please be so kind and translate the English text from 16th century at the bottom to present day English and put the translation below the original? I know it is probably legible for native speakers of English, but as a non-native speaker I have had difficulties trying to understand it, particularly because of the different ortography it is using and which makes word seem unfamiliar to me. Many thanks in advance. Blahma 21:16, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)

  • I gave it a shot. How is the 'translation' now? -- Dcfleck July 2, 2005 15:11 (UTC)
    • Thanks, it is much better now. Now i finally can understand all the grammar relationships between the words in that text. Blahma 5 July 2005 22:51 (UTC)

Petit Robert (French dictionary) states explicitly that "lune de miel" is derived from the English "honeymoon". Iglew 02:07, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

During College at Notre Dame my 1st Year, I took a History class that covered centuries from the 4th to the 13th century. My professor was very knowledgeable and very enthusiastic about history. One day just before the class started and the Professor walked in, a girl was talking about how she was getting married after spring semester and going to Paris for her honeymoon. As the Professor heard this when coming into the class, he talked about where the word Honeymoon came from. He said that in the centuries leading up to AD, The Danish were well known for their Mead (Alcohol Drink. And they had perfected the harvesting and making of their mead. They harvested Honey (key ingredient) and other wheats and such during the month (though he did not mention which one) which gave them a plentiful harvest for their mead. I do know Back then people would harvest honey in early spring(May-June). this was the old surplus honey that the bee's didn't use over the winter. The Danish made a system where they collect bees and beehives, and most importantly, Planted an excessive amount of flowers containing nectar very close to the beehives. And the hive would be filled 2-3 times faster. Then they would remove the hive and either let the bees find another one or had a empty one from the year before for them to fill. Now I do not know how they used the fresh honey or if they had a certain method to make it better for the mead, or if they added it to the spring honey that was left over from winter. but when the process was over for making the mead, they had celebrations for a month throughout the land. During this month, More people were married than any other month. At first he said that it was suppose to be a custom of the Dornish people, and was already planned before the celebrations. However he said that it was most likely that they were drunk and got married. Either could be true or both could be false. the He did mention that he knew of two different definitions for the "Honey moon" one was many years before Danish mead was created, it was a month that the earth and the moon were closest. And the moon Appeared with a yellowish tint as it rose the first 1/4 of the month and the last 1/4th of the month. This however cannot be seen today as the moon is now further away from the earth, then it was that many years ago. The second definition he gave was the actual month that was best for harvesting Honey(may-June). Today bee Farmers extract all the Honey just before fall or in the beginning of fall, and fee the bees with high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar through the winter.

Though I have no printed reference to prove what my professor told me, nor did my professor mention where he read or learned about it because it was a very short one way conversation before class. But he was very knowledgeable and history was his passion. If all of this is true or some of it. It is possible that today's meaning of a Honeymoon probably came from different meanings over many centuries. In my opinion, because the harvesting of Honey which began in May-June many years ago, and still in some countries today. And was used to make fresh alcohol drinks in June and July for celebrating the change of seasons (which lead to many marriages). And in the present society it is normal for a couple to take a trip after they are married. And the customs to be married in the month of June from many cultures over many years. Many marriages take place in June and The word Honeymoon was created. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jrtower (talkcontribs) 16:18, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

I looked around, and all the most reliable book sources (for example the OED) don't mention the connection with honey or mead, or consider it to be spurious. Definitely worth keeping the discussion of the supposed etymology there, but we shouldn't be promoting it as anything approaching fact. --Slashme (talk) 20:57, 1 October 2014 (UTC)


Why does suddenly the article start assuming that ther word origin is Turkish and come up with a far-fetched explanation of this alleged mistranslation?

Didn't the English word "month" come about as a shortening of "moonth"?

  • The Turkish stuff is bogus. "Honeymoon" is defined as "the first month or so after marriage". The derivation is obvious. FYI, the actual derivation of "moon" and "month" are the Anglo-Saxon "mona" and "monath" respectively. The Latin for month is "mensis", although the Latin moon goddess is called "Luna". And there is no shortage of lunatics on this site. Wahkeenah 00:06, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

In Russian words "month" and "Moon" is the same word (месяц). So it's safer to assume that this expression comes from Russian. In English (and Spanish, and French) Moon of Honey (luna de miel, lune de miel) makes no sense. It gotta be a month (mes, mois) (talk) 04:05, 5 March 2020 (UTC)


The article says in India the honeymoon is called 'suhaag raat.' The Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary (page 1033) defines that term as wedding night, which of course is also its literal meaning. I don't see how this could refer to a period beyond the first night. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Dcamp314 (talkcontribs) 17:57, 8 March 2007 (UTC).

Relic of bride kidnapping?[edit]

It states in the article on Bride kidnapping#In history that the honeymoon is a possible relic from the days of "marriage by capture". No sources are provided at that article, however, but it may be interesting to research. − Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 10:03, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

origin of term[edit]

I've heard that "honeymoon" comes from one of the folk names for the June moon in English, Honey or Mead Moon. It used to be considered auspicious to marry in June (and still is a popular month) and the moon name got re-used. Is this true? I think this at least deserves a mention, if only to say it's a folk etymology. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:05, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

1 month long, babies[edit]

I have seen on the history channels special on mating that honeymoons were supposed to be 1 month long because that is the approximate length of a woman's cycle, and by the husband having the wife to himself during that time, he would ensure that the children being born were his, rather than some other guy's. I wish i had more information to provide from the special , but that might be worth looking into.~~Dan

I have also heard this claim. Or if not specifically to ensure the kids are his, but just to have a high probability of having kids as you are almost guaranteed to reach the ovulation point. I will try to research some sources... ~~Eli


If it is true that it was a custom to give the couple enough honey mead for a month, the origins of the term are clear. However I am somewhat skeptical of this story. What sources are available to verify this theory? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:42, 20 May 2011 (UTC)


The "mead" explanation is dubious. The sources supplied are not scholarly works concerning etymology, they are popular books providing popular stories about the etymology of this word. Unless someone can come up with a reliable source that supports this etymology then this explanation should go. SQGibbon (talk) 23:44, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

It's been over a week and since there are no objections (or comments of any kind) I've deleted that part of the article. SQGibbon (talk) 02:38, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

Well, it resurfaced, and I saw it on reddit, so I've done a bit of a cleanup. Maybe you would like to take another look? --Slashme (talk) 21:00, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

Honey moon: According to Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson[edit]

According to Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist, the word Honeymoon stems from a physical effect. In June the moon never gets high in the sky and the moon´s color stays ember during that time. Therefor: Honey Moon.

A quick image search on Google seems to support his idea:

I`m obviously not a native English speaker, so maybe someone finds the time to add this as possible explanation to the wiki article.

Source: (talk) 23:04, 25 November 2015 (UTC)

Folk linguistics[edit]

The paragraph starting "There are many words of similar meaning in other languages" appears to me to be unsupported folk linguistics. It has not a single citation to its name and there is no reason to suppose that any or all of these usages are not simply recent borrowings, just as most languages have a term that means "automobile" and is a borrowed word. I would argue that the paragraph should be struck.

Poihths (talk) 14:06, 19 January 2018 (UTC)