anniversary vs. birthday

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Hi! Can anyone explain me the difference (if there's a difference at all!) between "birthday" and "anniversary"?

Because i read this and i got confused: "for birthdays, he picks up the card and orders the flowers. For anniversaries, he makes the reservations."

  • Hakro

    Senior Member
    Finnish - Finland
    Birthday is the "anniversary" of the date you were born.

    Anniversary can refer for example to your wedding day or any other date that is important.

    In this context I guess it's about the wedding date.

    Maybe the natives can explain it more clearly.


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Anniversary without any further qualification is a wedding anniversary.

    Otherwise, it could be anything.
    It could be the anniversary of:
    - the day we met
    - our first date
    - the day we got engaged
    - our separation
    - our divorce.


    Senior Member
    Brazil, Portuguese
    I want to make an invitation for the celebration of the 3rd year since the foundation of an institution. Could I write the following?

    We are glad to invite you to the institution’s 3rd anniversary solemnity.
    Thanks in advance.


    Senior Member
    U. S. - English
    I think it's obvious that 'anniversary' begins with the Latin word for 'year'. So, it should be used only for marking years. It is all too often used with other times: it's our four-month anniversary, etc. The mistaken phrase is understood by all, but it's still a mistake.

    I understand that this insertion is a bit off-topic, but I felt compelled to add it to the discussion.


    Senior Member
    USA English
    We are glad to invite you to the institution’s 3rd anniversary solemnity.
    I would say: "We are pleased to invite you to the celebration of the third anniversary of the founding (not foundation) of the institution."


    I was wondering,
    if you want to wish a happy 25th birthday to a person, can you use "happy 25 anniversary" or will that be understood as something totally different, like "happy 25th wedding anniversary"? So ""happy 25th birthday" is te one and only variant?


    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Yes, as stated earlier in the thread, "happy twenty-fifth birthday" is the correct phrase. Anniversary usually means "wedding anniversary" and is never used in English to mean "birthday".
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