Níłch’its’ósí

The Navajo word for November is níłch’its’ósí.

There are two main parts to this word.

The first is níłch’i, which you’ll recognize from our post for television (níłch’i naalkidí). It refers to the air. In contrast to yesterday’s word (ch’į́įdii), níłch’i can also refer to more benevolent spirits. Níłch’i diyinii are considered sacred, or holy, spirits.

The next part of the word, -ts’ósí, generally means small, in the slender or lean sense of the word. The Navajo word for August also describes something lean (Bini’anit’ą́ą́ts’ósí).

Together, they form the description “the slender/lean air” in reference to the highly noticeable colder winds that pierce through small openings. We are moving into winter.

November is also Native American Heritage Month in the U.S.