Biannual, Biennial, Semiannual

Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Commonly Confused Words and other Writing topics.

What´s the difference between biannual, biennial, and semiannual?

Biannual, Biennial, Semiannual

"Biannual" and "semiannual" both mean "twice a year." "Biennial" means "every two years." Because of the possible confusion between "biannual" and "biennial," use "semiannual" when you want to describe something that occurs twice a year.



7/31/2009 11:30:01 AM
Rick said:

This tip both helps the reader understand the intent of the words, but also helps remember the spelling difference associated with the difference in meaning.

9/26/2011 7:49:07 AM
Paddy Busulwa said:

Thanks a lot for this. It has always been causing confusion among our team here.

2/3/2012 2:23:38 PM
Joseph Dooley said:

Ha, just cited this site to my coworkers. We were engaged in rigorous debate whether our system was inspected biannually or semiannually.


URL: (optional)


Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Writing Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!

Guru Spotlight
Carma Spence-Pothitt