...month anniversary

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  • Siberia

    Senior Member
    UK-Wales - English
    Though "anni" refers to years, in various situations the form is quite acceptable as something to mark a particular date as you suggested. Not everybody knows its etymological meaning. I can imagine the above expression between two lovers.


    Senior Member
    USA English
    Hi cheshire,

    There was an extensive discussion of this topic in the past, but the thread appears to have been deleted.

    I don't like using anniversary to talk about things that occur at other than 1 year intervals. The acceptance of the usage is growing.

    It seems as though the Human Resources department of many organizations has fixed on the phrase n month anniversary. (Where n is a number like 6.)


    New Member
    English (American)
    The ignorance of this etymology pervades even the news desks of NBC, CBS etc. It is not at all uncommon to hear "5 year anniversary" (of Katrina) or "6 week anniversary". Such is the state of journalistic education...


    New Member
    English (American)
    I have no quarrel with the metaphorical extension of a word to a newer context, such as "engine" to "search engine". Sometimes such an extension can be quite inventive and clever.

    On the other hand, when the extended use is contradictory (6-week anniversary) or redundant (5-year anniversary), then the reader may infer a degree of ignorance on the part of the writer.

    An etymological fallacy becomes possible when a word has changed its meaning over time.
    ...but has "anniversary" changed in meaning?
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    Hi Liberal, and welcome to the forums!

    Out of curiosity, if "six-month anniversary" is unacceptable for you, is there any noun phrase that you would use to refer to a date exactly six months after some significant event?


    Senior Member
    English - US
    To give a related example, semester etymologically means 'of six months" ... all those ignorant universities with their silly (blessed or happy) three-month semesters (not to mention that eight-week summer semester). ;)


    Senior Member
    U.S. English/Spanish
    Three-week anniversary, three-month anniversary, three-year anniversary--that's how people speak and write about anniversaries of any kind. These are all perfectly acceptable both in spoken and written language, etymologically correct or not.


    Senior Member
    UK English
    This is a classical example of semantic broadening (and the Etymological Fallacy (linked earlier)). Yes 'anni' is in there and speakers of Romance languages might be able to guess this is related to 'years' so might insist on its current meaning being related to its etymological root when it was introduced into English in the 1200s (etymological fallacy), but this just is not how it is used and though some perceive it should be, it's quite nonsensical to demand that current usage reflect this.

    If we take 'Holy Day', then that meant a day traditionally sanctioned by the church to be a day of rest and prayer, yet now it's changed a bit and we use the form 'holiday' to mean any period of rest. Nobody points out what that 'holi-' refers to and says we shouldn't use the word holiday the way we do.

    When we say "to ship" something, nowadays it doesn't have to be sent by ship, it means to be transported and can be by lorry / plane. Nobody points out the blatantly obvious that the word contains 'ship' and has to be meant when things will be transported over water.

    The word "awful" contains something most English speakers should recognise as "awe" which isn't in itself something inherently bad, yet we only use it with the sense of it being bad, nobody points out that something that has been called awful is not actually 'full of awe'.

    In American English the word Kleenex is used for any type of tissue, if someone is crying and another person asks them for 'a Kleenex' if someone hands them a tissue not created by the company 'Kleenex' they won't say "No you idiot I asked for a Kleenex". This is also common in BE for Hoover.
    Also.... (Xerox in American English)

    If we're constantly looking back at what words 'used to mean' we should only refer to 'birds' as small winged animals in the nest, every dog should be called a 'hound' and the word 'silly' is something that means 'blessed'.

    Wikipedia said:
    The etymological fallacy holds, erroneously, that the original or historical meaning of a word or phrase is necessarily similar to its actual present-day meaning. This is a linguistic misconception, mistakenly identifying a word's current semantic field with its etymology
    Looking back to origins of words and trying to realign them with modern usage is not really a good thing to do, the last time this was taken seriously a group of people tried to correct English spelling by throwing Bs in everywhere where they never were before. English took a lot of words from French which never had a 'b' and then when these 'revolutionaries' (I'm sure they thought of themselves as 'restorers') looked back at the Latin roots of words (debitum), they changed our spelling to 'debt' when there was no "B" in there in the first place, coming from Old French 'de(t)te'. (The point here being that looking at etymological roots is pointless considering nobody speaking English has ever seriously pronounced a when saying the word 'debt').

    Meanings can and do change.
    All this discussion proves now is that the transformation of semantic broadening isn't quite complete and is meeting some resistance. This is one of the most common and regular methods of semantic change. While people aren't aware of what the morpheme 'anni-' meant in Latin, and the word anniversary continues to be used in a way representing the concept of a "regular interval" then this change will happen.

    It's here, it's normal, people aren't 'idiots' for not knowing this, and please let's not start wailing about the 'current state of education', that has nothing to do with it in the grander scheme of language change.


    New Member
    English (American)
    So - by implication -

    "Annual" no longer necessarily implies "yearly"?

    A Lada (E. German) auto can be "pedestrian"?

    I'm reminded of Orwell - remember him?

    "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength."

    "Political chaos is connected with the decay of language... one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end."

    Sorry to carry on so, but either the word means something, or it doesn't.


    Senior Member
    English UK
    Sorry to carry on so, but either the word means something, or it doesn't.
    But Alx's point is, precisely, that the 'something' meant by words changes over time. It looks as if we're in the early stages of "anniversary" moving away from a connection with "year".

    SDLX Master

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Peru
    But Alx's point is, precisely, that the 'something' meant by words changes over time. It looks as if we're in the early stages of "anniversary" moving away from a connection with "year".
    I totally concur, and more so, languages are "living entities" with the ability to grow, transform and die. It does not matter if it borrows terms from other languages or if it modifies them because their usage keeps them alive. In the very core of this thread, knowing a Latin root is good enough for informative purposes, but that doesn't exactly mean that every word containing it will necessarily imply its meaning, as Alx~ has correctly put it!

    And to wrap this up, if anyone opposes to its widely spread usage and if they insist on using a specific idea, it's only a matter of giving it a bit of pondering, i.e. Don't want to say 6-month anniversary, then say, 6-month celebration! :rolleyes:


    Senior Member
    Malaysia English
    Malaysian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and allow him to receive proper medical attention, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organisation Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) said yesterday on the 10-month anniversary of Anwar’s latest imprisonment. Anwar is currently incarcerated in Sungai Buloh prison, Selangor State.

    Read more: Anwar Ibrahim must be freed

    Is 10-month anniversary correct? I believe anniversary is based on years.



    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Originally that was the case, but it has come to be used with months or even weeks. So yes, this usage is acceptable.


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Moderator note: Karen's thread has been merged with an earlier one. Please scroll up for more comments.

    Glasguensis is right: this usage is generally acceptable. But read some of the earlier comments too from a few people who are less happy with it.
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