How did the term “Indian Summer” originate?

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Dear Tom,
How did the term “Indian Summer” originate?
—George Ortberg
Dear George,
The precise origin of “Indian Summer”is uncertain, but here is a commonly accepted definition: A warm, tranquil spell of weather in the autumn, especially after a frost or period of abnormally cold weather. The term originated in the United States and came into use in about 1778.
J. M. Flowers of Carpentersville, Ill., provided the following interesting explanation that predates 1778. He writes, “My wife and I were vacationing in Scotland and we overheard a Scott mention Indian Summer. I asked how the term started in Scotland. He said it had to do with sending British troops to India in the late fall. The weather was still warm in India — thus the term “Indian Summer.”

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