A honeymoon is the traditional holiday taken by newlyweds to celebrate their marriage in intimacy and seclusion. Today, honeymoons by Westerners are sometimes celebrated somewhere exotic or otherwise considered special and romantic.


In Western culture, the custom of a newlywed couple going on a holiday together originated in early 19th century Great Britain. Upper-class couples would take a "bridal tour", sometimes accompanied by friends or family, to visit relatives that had not been able to attend the wedding. [cite news|title=Selling Sex in Honeymoon Heaven|author=Ginger Strand|publisher=The Believer|month=January | year=2008|url=http://www.believermag.com/issues/200801/?read=article_strand] The practice soon spread to the European continent and was known as "voyage à la façon anglaise" (English-style voyage) in France from the 1820s on.Fact|date=September 2008

Honeymoons in the modern sense (i.e. a pure holiday voyage undertaken by the married couple) became widespread during the Belle Époque, [Sylvain Venayre. Le Temps du voyage noces. L’Histoire no 321, juin 2007. ISSN 0182-2411 p. 57] as one of the first instances of modern mass tourism. This came about in spite of initial disapproval by contemporary medical opinion (which worried about women's frail health) and by "savoir vivre" guidebooks (which deplored the public attention drawn to what was assumed to be the wife's sexual initiation). [Venayre, op.cit., p. 58] The most popular honeymoon destinations at the time were the Côte d'Azur and Italy, particularly its seaside resorts and romantic cities such as Rome, Verona or Venice.


The "Oxford English Dictionary" offers no etymology, but gives examples dating back to the 16th century. The Merriam-Webster dictionary reports the etymology as from "the idea that the first month of marriage is the sweetest" (1546).

A honeymoon can also be the first moments a newly-wed couple spend together, or the first holiday they spend together to celebrate their marriage.

One of the more recent citations in the "Oxford English Dictionary" indicates that, while today "honeymoon" has a positive meaning, the word was originally a reference to the inevitable waning of love like a phase of the moon. This, the first known literary reference to the honeymoon, was penned in 1552, in Richard Huloet's "Abecedarium Anglico Latinum". Huloet writes:

In many parts of Europe it was traditional to supply a newly married couple with enough mead for a month, ensuring happiness and fertility. From this practice we get "honeymoon" or, as the French say, "lune de miel"cite book| last=Gayre| first=Robert | title=Wassail! In Mazers of Mead | publisher=Brewers Publications - Boulder, CO |year=1986 | id=ISBN 0-937381-00-4 , p.22] cite book| last=Acton| first=Bryan | title=Making Mead | publisher=The Amateur Winemaker |year=1968 | id=SBN 900841-07-9, p.14]

There are many calques of the word honeymoon from English into other languages. The Welsh word for honeymoon is "mis mêl" (honey month). In Hebrew it is 'Yerach D'vash translated to honey month (interestingly the word 'Yerach'-Month is very close to the word 'Yare'ach'-Moon. The two words are spelled alike: ירח). In Arabic it is "shahr el 'assal" also translated to honey month. The Spanish word for honeymoon is "la luna de miel" (the moon of honey), and the Italian "luna di miele" (same translation). The Persian word for it is "mah e asal" which has both the translations honeymoon and honey month ("mah" in Persian meaning both "moon" and "month").


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Honeymoon — Hon ey*moon , n. 1. The first month after marriage. Addison. [1913 Webster] 2. A vacation taken together by a newly married couple, usually including a trip away from home. [PJC] 3. Hence: [fig.] Any initial period of harmony after two or more… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • honeymoon — ► NOUN 1) a holiday taken by a newly married couple. 2) an initial period of enthusiasm or goodwill. ► VERB ▪ spend a honeymoon. DERIVATIVES honeymooner noun. ORIGIN originally referring to affection waning like the moon, later denoting the first …   English terms dictionary

  • honeymoon — [hun′ē mo͞on΄] n. [as if < HONEY + MOON (? in reference to the waning of the affection of newlyweds), but ? folk etym. for ON hjūnōttsmānathr, lit., wedding night month] 1. the holiday or vacation spent together by a newly married couple 2. a… …   English World dictionary

  • Honeymoon — (engl., spr. hómumūn, »Honigmonat«), soviel wie Flitterwochen …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • honeymoon — (n.) 1540s, hony moone, but probably much older, indefinite period of tenderness and pleasure experienced by a newly wed couple, from HONEY (Cf. honey) (n.) in reference to the new marriage s sweetness, and MOON (Cf. moon) (n.) in reference to… …   Etymology dictionary

  • honeymoon — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ brief, short ▪ We had a brief honeymoon in Paris. ▪ long ▪ second ▪ After so many years of marriage, we re planning a second hone …   Collocations dictionary

  • honeymoon — I UK [ˈhʌnɪˌmuːn] / US [ˈhʌnɪˌmun] noun [countable] Word forms honeymoon : singular honeymoon plural honeymoons * 1) a holiday that two people take after they get married on (our/their/your etc) honeymoon: Where are you going on your honeymoon?… …   English dictionary

  • honeymoon — n. 1) to go on a honeymoon 2) to spend a honeymoon (they spent their honeymoon in Hawaii) * * * [ hʌnɪmuːn] to go on a honeymoon to spend a honeymoon (they spent their honeymoon in Hawaii) …   Combinatory dictionary

  • honeymoon — hon|ey|moon1 [ˈhʌnimu:n] n [Date: 1500 1600; Origin: honey + moon; because the moon appears to get smaller, like the love of some newly married people] 1.) a holiday taken by two people who have just got married on your honeymoon ▪ We went to… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • honeymoon — hon|ey|moon1 [ hʌni,mun ] noun count * 1. ) a vacation that two people take after they get married: on (our/their/your etc.) honeymoon: Where are you going on your honeymoon? 2. ) the beginning of a period of time, when everything is pleasant and …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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