Ambivalence over the name of the third season of the year reflects its status as a relatively new concept.
As natural as it seems today, people haven't always thought of the year in terms of four seasons.
Fifteen hundred years ago, the Anglo-Saxons marked the passage of time with just one season:
winter, a concept considered equivalent to hardship or adversity that metaphorically represented the year in its entirety.
For example, in the Old English epic poem "Beowulf," the title character rescues a kingdom that had been terrorized by a monster for "12 winters."