bi·​en·​ni·​al | \ (ˌ)bī-ˈe-nē-əl How to pronounce biennial (audio) \

Definition of biennial

1 : occurring every two years a biennial celebration
2 : continuing or lasting for two years specifically, of a plant : growing vegetatively during the first year and fruiting and dying during the second Biennial herbs flower in their second year.

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Other Words from biennial

biennial noun
biennially \ (ˌ)bī-​ˈe-​nē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce biennial (audio) \ adverb

What do bimonthly and biweekly mean?: Usage Guide

Many people are puzzled about bimonthly and biweekly, which are often ambiguous because they are formed from two different senses of bi-: "occurring every two" and "occurring two times." This ambiguity has been in existence for nearly a century and a half and cannot be eliminated by the dictionary. The chief difficulty is that many users of these words assume that others know exactly what they mean, and they do not bother to make their context clear. So if you need bimonthly or biweekly, you should leave some clues in your context to the sense of bi- you mean. And if you need the meaning "twice a," you can substitute semi- for bi-. Biannual and biennial are usually differentiated.

Did you know?

Biennial conventions, celebrations, competitions, and sports events come every two years. Biennials are plants that live two years, bearing flowers and fruit only in the second year. (Carrots and sugar beets are two examples; since we're only interested in their roots, we don't wait another year to see their flower and fruit.) In contrast, semiannual means "twice a year". But no one can agree whether biweekly means "twice a week" or "every two weeks", and whether bimonthly means "twice a month" or "every two months". Maybe we should stop using both of them until we can decide.

Examples of biennial in a Sentence

The governor explained the biennial budget proposal.
Recent Examples on the Web The popular biennial event is the organization’s biggest fundraiser, with proceeds benefiting educational programs for schools and the wider community., 25 Mar. 2022 The DefExpo is a biennial event, and this year’s edition would have been the 12th. Manavi Kapur, Quartz, 4 Mar. 2022 While the ultimate goal for every entry is to place in its category and in the overall championship, Strohmenger points out that this biennial event allows makers to receive feedback from expert judges. Nicole Haase, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 22 Feb. 2022 Globally, the biennial event is filled with young overseas pros, future overseas pros and, in the case of the United States, high-end graduating high school seniors and young high-major college talent. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 Feb. 2022 The biennial team event Nov. 4-6 at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity is a 54-hole tournament with 80 competitors from 20 countries. Mark Kazlowski, Dallas News, 22 Sep. 2021 The House had favored 4 percent raises in each year of the biennial budget, plus 1 percent bonuses; the Senate had proposed straight 5 percent raises. Washington Post, 8 Mar. 2022 The measure was included in the biennial state budget and will take effect April 1, extending postpartum Medicaid coverage to one year. Harriet Jones,, 7 Mar. 2022 Long sessions, which last five months and are held every other year for lawmakers to draft the state's biennial budget, would give lawmakers more time to consider substantive legislation and hear from the public. Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star, 22 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'biennial.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of biennial

1562, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for biennial

Time Traveler

The first known use of biennial was in 1562

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Dictionary Entries Near biennial

Bien Hoa


biennial bearing

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Statistics for biennial

Last Updated

7 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Biennial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for biennial


bi·​en·​ni·​al | \ bī-ˈe-nē-əl How to pronounce biennial (audio) \

Kids Definition of biennial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : occurring every two years a biennial celebration
2 : growing stalks and leaves one year and flowers and fruit the next before dying

Other Words from biennial

biennially \ -​ē-​ə-​lē \ adverb



Kids Definition of biennial (Entry 2 of 2)

: a biennial plant

More from Merriam-Webster on biennial

Nglish: Translation of biennial for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about biennial


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