1. The season of the year in which the sun shines most obliquely upon any region; the coldest season of the year. Of thirty winter he was old. And after summer evermore succeeds barren winter, with his wrathful nipping cold. (Shak) Winter lingering chills the lap of May. (goldsmith)
North of the equator, winter is popularly taken to include the months of december, January, and february (see season). Astronomically, it may be considered to begin with the winter solstice, about December 21st, and to end with the vernal equinox, about march 21st.
2. The period of decay, old age, death, or the like. Life's autumn past, I stand on winter's verge. (Wordsworth) Winter apple, an apple that keeps well in winter, or that does not ripen until winter. Winter barley, a kind of barley that is sown in autumn.
Origin: AS. Winter; akin to OFries. & D. Winter, OS. & OHG. Wintar, G. Winter, D. & Sw. Vinter, Icel. Vetr, Goth. Wintrus; of uncertain origin; cf. Old Gallic vindo- white (in comp), OIr. Find white.