(Anglo-Saxon, lencten). Lenctentid (spring-tide)
was the Saxon name for March, because in this month there is a manifest
lengthening of the days. As the chief part of the great fast falls in
March, this period of fast received the name of the Lencten-fæsten, or Lent. It is from Ash Wednesday to Easter.
The Fast of thirty-six days was introduced in the fourth century.
Felix III. added four more days in 487, to make it correspond with our
Lord's fast in the wilderness.
A form of torture devised by Galeazzo Visconti, calculated to
prolong the unfortunate victim's life for forty days.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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