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[lent] /lɛnt/

(in the Christian religion) an annual season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting 40 weekdays to Easter, observed by Roman Catholic, Anglican, and certain other churches.
the past tense and past participle of lend
(Christianity) the period of forty weekdays lasting from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday, observed as a time of penance and fasting commemorating Jesus’ fasting in the wilderness
(modifier) falling within or associated with the season before Easter: Lent observance
(pl) (at Cambridge University) Lent term boat races

late 14c., short for Lenten (n.) “forty days before Easter” (early 12c.), from Old English lencten “springtime, spring,” the season, also “the fast of Lent,” from West Germanic *langa-tinaz “long-days” (cf. Old Saxon lentin, Middle Dutch lenten, Old High German lengizin manoth), from *lanngaz (root of Old English lang “long;” see long (adj.)) + *tina-, a root meaning “day” (cf. Gothic sin-teins “daily”), cognate with Old Church Slavonic dini, Lithuanian diena, Latin dies “day” (see diurnal).

the compound probably refers to the increasing daylight. Cf. similar form evolution in Dutch lente (Middle Dutch lentin), German Lenz (Old High German lengizin) “spring.” Church sense of “period between Ash Wednesday and Easter” is peculiar to English.

In Christianity, a time of fasting and repentance in the spring, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending several weeks later on Easter.

Note: To “give something up for Lent” is to abandon a pleasurable habit as an act of devotion and self-discipline.


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