The name of the month Elul, like the names of the rest of the Hebrew calendar months, was brought from the Babylonian captivity, and originated from the Akkadian word for “harvest”. A similar month name was also used in Akkadian, in the form Elūlu. The month is known as Araḫ Ulūlu, “harvest month”, in the Babylonian calendar. Eylül is also the name for September in Turkish; this is derived from Arabic: أيلول ʾAylūl, used in Iraq and the Levant (see Arabic names of calendar months), from Classical Syriac ܐܝܼܠܘܼܠ ʾĪlūl, also tracing its origin from the Akkadian word Elūlu.
In Jewish tradition, the month of Elul is a time of repentance in preparation for the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The word “Elul” is similar to the root of the verb “search” in Aramaic. Jewish sources from the 14th century and on write that the Hebrew word “Elul” can be understood to be an acronym for the phrase “Ani L’dodi V’dodi Li” – “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”. Elul is seen as a time to search one’s heart and draw close to God in preparation for the coming Day of Judgement.