short for Lenten,
from O.E. lencten “spring,” the season,
from W.Gmc. *langa-tinaz (cf. O.S. lentin, M.Du. lenten, O.H.G. lengizin manoth),
from *lanngaz (root of O.E. lang “long“) + *tina-, a root meaning “day”
(cf. Goth. sin-teins “daily”), cognate with O.C.S. dini, Lith. diena, L. dies “day.”
the compound probably refers to the increasing daylight.
Church sense of “period between Ash Wednesday and Easter” is peculiar to Eng.