civil year


See under year(def 1).




a period of 365 or 366 days, in the Gregorian calendar, divided into 12 calendar months, now reckoned as beginning Jan. 1 and ending Dec. 31 (calendar year or civil year).Compare common year, leap year.
a period of approximately the same length in other calendars.
a space of 12 calendar months calculated from any point: This should have been finished a year ago.
  1. Also called lunar year.a division of time equal to 12 lunar months.
  2. Also called astronomical year, equinoctial year, solar year, tropical year.a division of time equal to about 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds, representing the interval between one vernal equinox and the next.
  3. Also called sidereal year.a division of time equal to the equinoctial year plus 20 minutes, representing the time required for the earth to complete one revolution around the sun, measured with relation to the fixed stars.Compare anomalistic year.
the time in which any planet completes a revolution round the sun: the Martian year.
a full round of the seasons.
a period out of every 12 months, devoted to a certain pursuit, activity, or the like: the academic year.
  1. age.
  2. old age: a man of years.
  3. time; period: the years of hardship and frustration.
  4. an unusually long period of time of indefinite length: I haven't spoken to them in years.
a group of students entering school or college, graduating, or expecting to graduate in the same year; class.


    a year and a day, a period specified as the limit of time in various legal matters, as in determining a right or a liability, to allow for a full year by any way of counting.
    from the year one, for a very long time; as long as anyone remembers: He's been with the company from the year one.
    year in and year out, regularly through the years; continually: Year in and year out they went to Florida for the winter.Also year in, year out.

Origin of year

before 900; Middle English yeer, Old English gēar; cognate with Dutch jaar, German Jahr, Old Norse ār, Gothic jēr, Greek hôros year, hṓrā season, part of a day, hour
Related formsmul·ti·year, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for civil year


British Dictionary definitions for civil year

civil year


another name for calendar year See year (def. 1)



Also called: civil year the period of time, the calendar year, containing 365 days or in a leap year 366 days. It is based on the Gregorian calendar, being divided into 12 calendar months, and is reckoned from January 1 to December 31
a period of twelve months from any specified date, such as one based on the four seasons
a specific period of time, usually occupying a definite part or parts of a twelve-month period, used for some particular activitya school year
Also called: astronomical year, tropical year the period of time, the solar year, during which the earth makes one revolution around the sun, measured between two successive vernal equinoxes: equal to 365.242 19 days
the period of time, the sidereal year, during which the earth makes one revolution around the sun, measured between two successive conjunctions of a particular distant star: equal to 365.256 36 days
the period of time, the lunar year, containing 12 lunar months and equal to 354.3671 days
the period of time taken by a specified planet to complete one revolution around the sunthe Martian year
(plural) age, esp old agea man of his years should be more careful
(plural) timein years to come
a group of pupils or students, who are taught or study together, divided into classes at schoolthey are the best year we've ever had for history
the year dot informal as long ago as can be remembered
year and a day English law a period fixed by law to ensure the completion of a full year. It is applied for certain purposes, such as to determine the time within which wrecks must be claimed
year in, year out regularly or monotonously, over a long period
Related formsRelated adjective: annual

Word Origin for year

Old English gear; related to Gothic jēr, Old Saxon, Old High German jār, Old Norse ār year, Polish jar springtime, Latin hōrnus of this year


In writing spans of years, it is important to choose a style that avoids ambiguity. The practice adopted in this dictionary is, in four-figure dates, to specify the last two digits of the second date if it falls within the same century as the first: 1801–08; 1850–51; 1899–1901 . In writing three-figure bc dates, it is advisable to give both dates in full: 159–156 bc, not 159–56 bc unless of course the span referred to consists of 103 years rather than three years. It is also advisable to specify bc or ad in years under 1000 unless the context makes this self-evident
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

Word Origin and History for civil year



Old English gear (West Saxon), ger (Anglian) "year," from Proto-Germanic *jæram "year" (cf. Old Saxon, Old High German jar, Old Norse ar, Danish aar, Old Frisian ger, Dutch jaar, German Jahr, Gothic jer "year"), from PIE *yer-o-, from root *yer-/*yor- "year, season" (cf. Avestan yare (nominative singular) "year;" Greek hora "year, season, any part of a year," also "any part of a day, hour;" Old Church Slavonic jaru, Bohemian jaro "spring;" Latin hornus "of this year;" Old Persian dušiyaram "famine," literally "bad year"). Probably originally "that which makes [a complete cycle]," and from verbal root *ei- meaning "to do, make."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with civil year


In addition to the idiom beginning with year

  • year in, year out

also see:

  • all year round
  • along in years
  • by the day (year)
  • donkey's years
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.