English Leap Day and Swedish ‘Skott’ Day

2020 is a leap year, and today 29 February is Leap Day. In Swedish, leap year is called ‘skottår’ and Leap Day is ’skottdag’.

So, why ‘skott’? And why indeed ‘leap’? Well, the English word refers to the fact that the extra day in February means we leap over a day for the rest of the year. For example, the 1st March would have been a Saturday, but because of the leap day, it is now a Sunday.

What about the Swedish word ‘skott’? Well, it has nothing to do with Scotland. Nor does it mean ‘leap.’ The word ‘skott’ originally means ‘inserted in between’. So ‘skottdag’ is literally an extra day inserted in between two other days.

An interesting fact, those born on 29 February are called leaplings in English, and there are about 4,000,000 of them in the world!

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