noun \ ˈyir \
|Updated on: 13 Jul 2018

Definition of year

1 a : the period of about 3651/4 solar days required for one revolution of the earth around the sun
b : the time required for the apparent sun to return to an arbitrary fixed or moving reference point in the sky
c : the time in which a planet completes a revolution about the sun
  • two Mercury years
2 a : a cycle in the Gregorian calendar of 365 or 366 days divided into 12 months beginning with January and ending with December
b : a period of time equal to one year of the Gregorian calendar but beginning at a different time
3 : a calendar year specified usually by a number
  • died in the year 1900
4 years plural : a time or era having a special significance
  • their glory years
5 a : 12 months that constitute a measure of age or duration
  • her 21st year
often used in combination
  • a year-old child
b years plural : age
  • wise beyond her years
; also : the final stage of the normal life span
6 : a period of time (such as the usually 9-month period in which a school is in session) other than a calendar year

Examples of year in a Sentence

  1. I haven't seen her in a year.

  2. He quit smoking six years ago.

  3. The job pays ,000 a year.

  4. She renews her lease every year.

  5. We see them once or twice a year.

  6. It feels like we've been standing in line for a year.

  7. That team hasn't won in years.

  8. It's been years since I've been on an airplane.

  9. The work should be done by the end of the year.

  10. She was born in the year 1967.

Recent Examples of year from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of year

Middle English yere, from Old English gēar; akin to Old High German jār year, Greek hōros year, hōra season, hour

Other Calendar Terms

Financial Definition of YEAR


What It Is

In the business world, a year is a 12-month period, four-quarter period, or 13-period stretch of time. It is not always 365 days long, though it is usually very close to that. In business, note that a fiscal year does not always go from January 1 to December 31; many companies have fiscal years beginning at other times.

How It Works

Years are important because they create time frames for comparing information. For example, let's assume Company XYZ's fiscal year began on January 1 and that today is March 31. During this time, Company XYZ recorded the following:

By comparing the 2012 revenues with the 2011 revenues, we can calculate that Company XYZ was up 50% year over year.

Why It Matters

Yearly information is useful in looking for trends or measuring performance against goals. Remember, though that comparing year-over-year information among companies with different fiscal-year start dates can distort an analysis: The time included may vary and seasonal factors may become skewed. It is also important to remember that the extra day in leap years may also distort comparisons.

YEAR Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of year for English Language Learners

  • : a unit of time that is equal to 12 months or 365 or sometimes 366 days

  • : the regular period of 12 months that begins in January and ends in December

  • —used to refer to the age of a person

YEAR Defined for Kids


noun \ ˈyir \

Definition of year for Students

1 : the period of about 365¹/₄ days required for the earth to make one complete trip around the sun
2 : a period of 365 days or in leap year 366 days beginning January 1
3 : a fixed period of time
  • the school year
4 : the age of a person
  • a six-year old
5 : a long time
  • We've been standing in line for a year.

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