biennial

If you’re just as fanatical about the luge as you are about beach volleyball, you probably know that the Olympic Games are on a biennial schedule. Every two years, either the Summer or the Winter Olympics takes place.

Don't mistake biennial for biannual, which means “twice a year.” Annoying? Yes, but other words containing the prefix bi- are even more troublesome. For example, bimonthly can mean either “twice a month” or “every two months.” To avoid confusion, you can use the prefix semi- to mean “twice during a certain time period.” So, it’s correct to say that the Olympics occurs on a biennial schedule, not on a semiannual (or biannual) one.

PRIMARY MEANINGS OF: biennial

1
adj
occurring every second year
2
nadj
(botany) a plant having a life cycle that normally takes two seasons from germination to death to complete; flowering biennials usually bloom and fruit in the second season
having a life cycle lasting two seasons
FULL DEFINITIONS OF: biennial
1

adj occurring every second year

“they met at biennial conventions”
Synonyms:
biyearly
periodic, periodical
happening or recurring at regular intervals
2

n (botany) a plant having a life cycle that normally takes two seasons from germination to death to complete; flowering biennials usually bloom and fruit in the second season

Type of:
flora, plant, plant life
(botany) a living organism lacking the power of locomotion

adj having a life cycle lasting two seasons

“a biennial life cycle”
“parsnips and carrots are biennial plants often grown as annuals”
Synonyms:
two-year
Antonyms:
annual, one-year
completing its life cycle within a year
perennial
lasting three seasons or more
show more antonyms...
WORD FAMILY
USAGE EXAMPLES