As today is the day before Christmas, I thought I’d look into the origins of the word eve.
Eve means the day or night before, and is usually used for holidays and other significant events, such as Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. It can also mean the period of time when something is just about to happen or to be introduced, such as the eve of a scientific breakthrough, and it used to mean evening or night.
It comes from the Middle English word even (eve, evening), from the Old English ǣfen (evening, eve), from the Proto-Germanic *ēbanþs (evening) [source]. Evening comes from the same Proto-Germanic root, via the Middle English evenyng (evening), and the Old English ǣfnung (evening) [source].
Related words in English including eventide, a poetic / archaic word for evening, and yestereve (yesterday evening).
Related words in other languages include avond (evening, night) in Dutch, Abend (evening, night) in German, aften (evening, night) in Danish and aften (night, evening, eve, dinner, supper) in Norwegian [source].
A Multilingual Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate it.