The Stack Overflow / Stack Exchange sites all have a "yearling" badge.

Active member for a year, earning at least 200 reputation.
This badge can be awarded multiple times.

So each year, if the reputation has progressed at least from 200 points, you get a "yearling" badge.

Yet Merriam-Webster defines yearling as one that is a year old.
Which makes sense on your first year participating to one of those sites.

But does yearling still apply for your second, third or more years of participation to come?
If not, what would be a better term for that kind of achievement?


7 Answers 7


As adjective, the NOAD defines yearling as having lived or existed for a year; a year old.
Dictionary.com defines the adjective as meaning of a year's duration or standing.

For recurrent events, yearly is the word I would use. If you interpret existed for a year as using a relative reference, then yearling could be used to describe the badge.


A yearling is a term which I'd associate with horses. I assumed that the stackoverflow usage was a joke rather than a serious name. Why not just call it the "two/three/four year" badge or just give two, three or four yearling badges.

  • Agreed. I've only ever heard it in common usage to do with horses.
    – Shawn D.
    Commented Aug 27, 2010 at 13:05

As others have pointed out, yearling does not have a use for recurring events. Other than on StackOverflow.com, it seems to only be used (in American English) when referring to the age of animals, especially horses. For a recurring event, the word you should probably use is either annual or anniversary, or yearly. As a native speaker of American English, I am much more likely to use "annually" than "yearly".

It would not, however, surprise me, if StackOverflow continued with the humor and referred to users who have been participating for two to three years as toddlers.

  • Toddlers, teeny tots, preschoolers, badges?
    – delete
    Commented Aug 27, 2010 at 14:35
  • @Shinto - Why not? If SO is still around in 100 years, they could even have a centenarian badge.
    – ssakl
    Commented Aug 27, 2010 at 14:50
  • I have selected kialaluno's answer (he was first on the yearly/yearling case), but upvoted yours. I find it quite accurate too.
    – VonC
    Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 12:45

Assuming it refers to the account on the site and not the person who created it, one could argue it is technically accurate.


In the context of stackexchange, "yearling" could be issued 12 months from when the account was opened. Then, if the account is more-or-less stagnant for 12 months, it could be issued again 18 months after the first one.

That seems flaky to me. "Yearling" implies one-year-old, not "did something in a year; then did it again in another year on the same site"


I am pretty sure that it's totally awesome in a sarcastic manner. But I want to believe “yearling” is not the right word, or at the very least, inappropriate for recurring events. But I must digress... It is funny as all hell that this site is perpetuating this. Idealistically even an etymologist wouldn't use this form of it. But, in my own humble opinion, an urban wordsmith would eat this up. So I would have to answer this "question" as both "yes and no" (all depending on opinion and level of your inner critic.)


The word "yearling" is almost exclusively used for young animals like sheep, goats and deer and certainly not used for repetitive things. For badges, you can have your first-, second- and third-year pins. An annual gathering is something that happens once a year, you can celebrate an anniversary each year too.

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