Cheshvan is Really M'rachSh'van-Say That Five Times Fast
But here comes a researched article in the Orthodox Union's Jewish Action Magazine (which we used to receive when we were members. I miss it...) which indicates everyone has been wrong, on both sides. And the real, original name of Cheshvan--can't use this anymore--is M'rachSh'van; a little hard to pronounce, but, hey-we can handle it. Don't forget to read the entire article, linked above. Here's an excerpt.
Misconception: The complete and correct name for the month following Tishrei is Cheshvan, and it is a quaint tradition to call it Mar Cheshvan because it is bitter (Hebrew: mar) due to its lack of holidays.Oh, and read about the interesting customs which grew up around the erroneous explanations, such as not getting married in MARCheshvan, because it's a bitter month.
Fact: The correct name for this fall month is the one word Marcheshvan/M’rachsh’van1 (Aruch Hashulchan, Even Ha’ezer 126:17).
Background: The Bible usually refers to the months by their ordinal numbers, although occasional ancient Israelite names are also used.2 The currently used Jewish names for the months were imported from Bavel (Babylonia),3 and many of them appear in post-exilic books of the Bible.4 Some of these are derived from the names of ancient gods, such as Tammuz which is thought to come from the Assyrian Du-mu-zu, an Egyptian god, and is mentioned as the name of an idol in Ezekiel (8:14).5
Marcheshvan is probably derived from its location in the calendar. In Akkadian (Babylonian/Assyrian), “w” (vav) and “m” (mem) sounds can interchange. As a result, Marcheshvan which is from the two words “m’rach” and “shvan,” would have been “warh” and “shman,” in Akkadian, corresponding to the Hebrew “yerech shmini,” thus “eighth month.”6 In the Yemenite tradition, the name of the month is pronounced Marach-sha’wan, not Mar-cheshvan as in the Ashkenazic tradition, and this would seem to preserve a greater fidelity to the original.
Our 44th anniversary is coming up soon. Guess we missed that memo...