8

Is "tri-quarterly" a real English word meaning 3 times a year? Are there any other words that mean 3 times a year?

5
  • 1
    Related: english.stackexchange.com/questions/18540/… Commented Sep 22, 2012 at 19:23
  • Also related: english.stackexchange.com/questions/64086/…
    – J.R.
    Commented Sep 22, 2012 at 19:50
  • 1
    A superficial use of google leads one to think that this is 'not a word'. It is used as a title of a literary magazine, but that's about it. I don't think there's anything useful one can say about this word that is anything but speculative.
    – Mitch
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 21:22
  • 1
    something published every four months might be most acceptably and clearly described as being published "thrice yearly" or "three times a year"
    – user52668
    Commented Sep 23, 2013 at 22:41
  • 1
    Tri-quarterly, absolutely, means either (a) every three quarters or (b) three times a quarter. It's that simple. The OPs specific question: "does it mean three times per year": answer is absolutely, definitely NOT.
    – Fattie
    Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 12:43

3 Answers 3

14

If "tri-quarterly" means anything, surely it would be every third quarter (every nine months). Or possibly three times a quarter, which is monthly. You can't redefine a quarter as a third, though.

Three times a year is triannual — not triennial which is every three years. You could also say every four months; "every four months" is preferable because it removes the possibility of confusion between triennial and triannual.

3
  • 6
    The OED records the adjective triannual as obsolete, but gives it both as ‘occurring every three years’ and ‘occurring thrice a year’. It gives the adjective ‘triennial’ as ‘existing or lasting for three years’ and ‘recurring every three years’. Commented Sep 22, 2012 at 19:10
  • Triannually was what I found as well, but not in the dictionary, but I couldn't find any validation for tri-quarterly although a few magazines use it that are published 3 times a year. I will accept this answer if I don't get any other suggestions.
    – Drai
    Commented Sep 22, 2012 at 20:04
  • It is possible that whoever used the term wanted to convey the idea that the three issues are published in three-month intervals, i.e. quarterly (say, in March, June,and September), and that one quarter is then skipped (in this example, there is no issue in December). Tri-quarterly would, however, still be a very bad term to use for that purpose.
    – jsw29
    Commented Dec 1, 2021 at 16:24
0

A word that I find used a lot is: tertial

Tertial is a foreign word from Latin meaning a third . In the temporal sense, a third is understood to mean a third of a year , i.e. a period of four months .

0

Trimester Trimester · Academic term, a trimester system divides the academic year into three terms

4
  • Confusingly, each term is usually about 13 weeks (the same length as a quarter of the year) to allow for holidays.
    – Peter
    Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 4:34
  • @Peter Also confusingly trimester is used when referring to human pregnancy. In this context there are three trimesters in a full-term pregnancy each trimester being roughly three months or thirteen weeks long. Trimester neatly divides a thirty-six week pregnancy into three parts and I understand that, if the terms are of equal length, how trimester gives the length of the terms but I don't quite get how trimester can be said to divide a fifty-two week year into three parts.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 5:11
  • Welcome to ELU. Could you edit your answer to explain clearly how this answers the question about tri-quarterly please?
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 8:09
  • @BoldBen Actually trimester means a 3-month period, so in an academic year you would have a trimester (term), break, trimester, break, trimester, long break. This is consistent with the meaning for pregnancy. I am afraid I confused myself!
    – Peter
    Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 11:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.