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[an-yoo-uh l] /ˈæn yu əl/
of, for, or pertaining to a year; yearly:
annual salary.
occurring or returning once a year:
an annual celebration.
Botany. living only one growing season, as beans or corn.
performed or executed during a year:
the annual course of the sun.
Entomology. living or lasting but one season or year, as certain insects or colonies of insects.
Botany. a plant living only one year or season.
a book, report, etc., published annually.
Origin of annual
1350-1400; < Late Latin annuālis, equivalent to Latin annu(us) yearly (derivative of annus circuit of the sun, year) + -ālis -al1; replacing Middle English annuel < Anglo-French < Latin
Related forms
annually, adverb
interannual, adjective
interannually, adverb
Can be confused
anal, annual, annul.
annual, perennial. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for annuals
Historical Examples
  • These are annuals, and perish at the close of the growing season.

    Seed Dispersal William J. Beal
  • In all the years of his ministry I never knew him to lose hope in his annuals.

    A Circuit Rider's Wife

    Corra Harris
  • annuals flower the same season the seeds are sown, perfect their seeds, and then die.

    Your Plants James Sheehan
  • annuals are divided into three classes, hardy, half-hardy, and tender.

    Your Plants James Sheehan
  • I have no disposition to say disparaging things about the garden of annuals.

    Amateur Gardencraft Eben E. Rexford
  • The bulb garden is more brilliant than the garden of annuals which succeeds it.

    Amateur Gardencraft Eben E. Rexford
  • This is one of the most fragrant flowers we have among the annuals.

    Amateur Gardencraft Eben E. Rexford
  • Bear this in mind when you select seeds for your garden of annuals.

    Amateur Gardencraft Eben E. Rexford
  • Moore told me that the editor of one of the annuals offered him 600ℓ.

    The Greville Memoirs Charles C. F. Greville
  • Snapdragons may be treated as annuals or biennials, and each has its own difficulty.

    The Children's Book of Gardening Mrs. Alfred Sidgwick
British Dictionary definitions for annuals


occurring, done, etc, once a year or every year; yearly: an annual income
lasting for a year: an annual subscription
a plant that completes its life cycle in less than one year Compare perennial (sense 3), biennial (sense 3)
a book, magazine, etc, published once every year
Derived Forms
annually, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin annuālis, from Latin annuus yearly, from annus year
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for annuals



late 14c., from Old French annuel (12c.) or directly from Late Latin annualem (nominative annualis), corresponding to Latin annalis as adjective form of annus "year," from PIE *at-no-, from root *at- "to go," on notion of "period gone through" (cf. Sanskrit atati "goes, wanders," Gothic aþnam (dative plural) "year," Oscan akno- "year, holiday, time of offering"). Used of plants since 1710.



c.1400, originally "service commemorating the anniversary of a person's death," from annual (adj.). By 1824 as short for annual plant.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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annuals in Science
Adjective  Completing a life cycle in one growing season.

Noun  An annual plant. Annuals germinate, blossom, produce seed, and die in one growing season. They are common in environments with short growing seasons. Most desert plants are annuals, germinating and flowering after rainfall. Many common weeds, wild flowers, garden flowers, and vegetables are annuals. Examples of annuals include tomatoes, corn, wheat, sunflowers, petunias, and zinnias. Compare biennial, perennial.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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