Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

Biannual and biennial (and bimonthly)

with 2 comments

Chinese calendar

Biannual means twice a year.

Biennial means every two years. Similarly, ‘biennium’ refers to a period of two years. For example: ‘We made plans for the next biennium’.


Just to confuse you, ‘bimonthly’ can mean twice a month, or every two months. See Oxford Dictionaries on this.

More commonly confused words


2 Responses

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  1. To take care of the “bi” issue in bimonthly, biweekly, etc., change the “bi” to twice and write the terms as twice monthly, twice yearly, twice weekly, etc, then there’s no confusion — ever.

    Don Bates
    Writing Instructor and Consultant
    New York City and Washington, DC

    Don Bates

    03/01/2010 at 3:48 pm

    • Thanks so much for sharing that sound advice, Don. A very simple and elegant solution!


      03/01/2010 at 3:51 pm

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