Bi-Annual and Semi-Annual: Do You Know the Difference?

Bi-Annual and Semi-Annual: Do You Know the Difference?

Ask 5 well-educated native English speakers, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you get 5 different answers:

What’s the difference between bi-annual and semi-annual?

If you guessed:

semi-annual = twice per year    bi-annual = every other year

you would be WRONG!

Bi-annual and semi-annual mean the same thing: twice per year.
Biennial means every other year.

Don’t believe me? Look it up. Wait: that won’t work. Literally half the online resources I consulted had the definitions wrong, and many had irate reader corrections.

FYI: Merriam-Webster, Oxford, and American Heritage got it right. Now, if they could just agree if its bi-annual and semi-annual or biannual and semiannual.

Leave a Comment

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons