Is there a word/phrase that would distinguish the combination of a year and month from a month?

I'd call "January" a month

I'd call "January 2011" a ____?

  • Have you found any better solution, or invented a word? I need such a word too. Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 13:41

6 Answers 6


January is (the name of) a month

January 2011 is (the name of) a (specific) calendar month.

  • 1
    -1: January in itself is a calendar month. January 2011 could be considered a date. However, January 2011 is not "(the name of) a (specific) calendar month". Rather, it is the month of a certain/specific year, or more succinctly, a date.
    – Jimi Oke
    Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 23:40
  • These terms have too many meanings in real-world usage to justify a negative score on this answer. A month can be a length of time roughly equal to 30 days; it can be one of the twelve named divisions in a year; it can be a specific instance of either of those. I would say it's vastly more common and understandable for January 2011 to be called a month than a date. Yes, it could be a date, but date is usually understood to be a day.
    – John Y
    Commented Mar 2, 2011 at 5:40
  • 1
    But if both "January" and "January 2011" are equally well described as "a month" and "a calendar month", then using the latter term will not provide the desired differentiation. (At my job, a "calendar month" is a term you use to differentiate a certain time period from a "fiscal month".)
    – Hellion
    Commented Mar 2, 2011 at 7:16
  • @Hellion: My point exactly. A calendar month refers to January, February, March, etc as opposed to just a period of four weeks, as in a fiscal month, or as in I will be in Costa Rica for a month (where a month is not necessarily, and most likely not, a calendar month).
    – Jimi Oke
    Commented Mar 2, 2011 at 14:06

January is a month.

January 2011 is a month of a year, or a month and a year. (It is not a year and a month; a year and a month is a duration.)

January 31, 2011 is a date.

I can't think of any way other than that to name the month-and-year combination.


I meet this problem desigining Business Intelligence applications. Objects that combine the Year and Month often simplify business rules.

For example

Year-Month between 2010-03 and 2011-02

(a rolling year) is a lot easier for a business user to create/understand than

(Year = 2010 and month >-03) or (Year = 2011 and month <= 02)

I call such an object a 'Year-Month' : clumsy maybe, but self-descriptive.


I'd call January 2011 a month.

I'd call January 31, 2011 a day.

I'd call 2011 a year.

  • That's useful, but is there something I could call "January" that would distinguish it from "month" that I'm using for "January 2011".
    – user5602
    Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 17:02
  • I don't think it's a useful distinction to make. But if that's what you're looking for, I hope someone else knows.
    – Robusto
    Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 17:03

I'm afraid all that is is a "month and year". Even database design has not come up with jargon for that yet, shockingly.

  • So true. (Expanding this comment to 15 characters actually takes away from the sentiment, but oh well.)
    – John Y
    Commented Mar 2, 2011 at 5:49

Unfortunately, there is nothing I would consider elegant, nor anything close to universally understood, to distinguish those two types of month. In fact, I would simply use the term month to describe either of them.

In programming contexts, you usually have other cues, like the length and data type of the field. In lay contexts, you usually provide other verbal cues. It should be clear whether you are talking about a month in a particular year or a month in any nonspecific year.

(Note that adding calendar to one of them is not very effective, as it could easily work for either type of month. If I had to choose, I would go the opposite way as antonio.)

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