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In English, we have

  • 7 days → a week
  • 14/15 days → a fortnight
  • 30/31 days → a month
  • 365 days → a year

Is there any word for six months? Not half a year, or biannually (which is linked to a main event). I need a specific term that can be used without a ‘crutch’ word.

The closest I've found is the word semester. But that's not right either.

Like a concrete fact or a universal truth, e.g. the sun rises in the east. The expression half a year ago could refer to any time, in respect to the specified event. What I would like is a term that fills this gap.

Every year has two _____

Half a year (in a sentence, e.g. either make a random sentence with half a year that is a present perfect, or consider any similar ones, such as biannually) is not a single-word and it is ambiguous.

Also, if that word doesn't exist in the English vocabulary, I would like to know if any other language has such a word.

marked as duplicate by Robusto, Matt E. Эллен May 26 '15 at 11:21

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  • Semester only relates to school terms. They can be of varying lengths, often 16 weeks, which is less than half of a year (26 weeks). – Catija May 26 '15 at 9:27
  • @Catija: MW also gives it as "period of six months". It means six months_ (from Latin) and I have seen it used outside academia as well. – oerkelens May 26 '15 at 9:33
  • even if t's a word from some other language like a french or russian word, it's cool. I just need a word for that. I know semester is the only one we've got, as far as current day english goes. – Annedy May 26 '15 at 9:52
  • Assume I'm writing a fairytale of sorts,...you know, where, once a ....., the king would do whatever. I have my reasons for wanting this word. .............. and I just saw this one...the Friedman Unit. Apparently it was coined pretty recently.......If you have any more, in different languages too....I'd LOVE to know. – Annedy May 26 '15 at 10:01
  • Assume I'm writing a fairytale of sorts,...you know, where, once a ....., the king would do whatever. I have my reasons for wanting this word. .............. and I just saw this one...the Friedman Unit (It has a negative conotation, though. Something about Iraq) . Apparently it was coined pretty recently.......If you have any more, in different languages too....I'd LOVE to know. – Annedy May 26 '15 at 10:07
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How about "half-year":

a period of 6 months

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A semester seems the word you are looking for.

Merriam-Webster:

  1. a period of six months

The academic use is, as mentioned, probably more prevalent though (half an academic year).

Economically, we often use quarters, making a six month period simply two quarters: How did the company do in the last two quarters of last year?

Merriam-Webster again:

4 : the fourth part of a measure of time: as
a : one of a set of four 3-month divisions of a year <business was up during the third quarter>

As you mention this example in your comment:

once a ....., the king would do whatever

I would slightly change it to

twice a year, the king would do whatever

Although that does not necessarily mean it happens every six months, the usual implication would be that the action happens roughly every six months.

  • Technically correct, but more prevalent in the first sense. (college semester) – Tushar Raj May 26 '15 at 9:33
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    No one actually uses it this way, though... It would be confusing to just about everyone who read it. – Catija May 26 '15 at 9:36
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Assuming you want to avoid the uncommonly used "semester" for six months, we do have a fairly common adjective: biannual. Creative reorganization can work it into any sentence.

The used car lot always has a biannual sale.
I like to get a good deep-tissue massage biannually.

There is also a less-used synonym for biannual: semiannual. However, both words are useless for describing a length of time, since those must be nouns.

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If you're writing a fairy-tale, you might want to use terms that are associated with the mystical and magical - I'd suggest something like:

"With the arrival of the solstices..." (which would be twice a year.)

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