[fawrt-nahyt, -nit]


the space of fourteen nights and days; two weeks.

Origin of fortnight

before 1000; Middle English fourtenight, contraction of Old English fēowertēne niht. See fourteen, night Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fortnight

Contemporary Examples of fortnight

Historical Examples of fortnight

  • From that day for nearly a fortnight there were busy doings in the house.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • They were to go to Dublin for a week, and then up to Ballyards for a fortnight.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • We have been having this sort of thing now for ten days; no, a fortnight—a fortnight.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • We have been here about a fortnight, and I believe we shall stay about a month longer.

  • This course of life may have lasted a fortnight; when I became heartily tired of it.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

British Dictionary definitions for fortnight



a period of 14 consecutive days; two weeks

Word Origin for fortnight

Old English fēowertīene niht fourteen nights
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 fortnight

17c. contraction of Middle English fourteniht, from Old English feowertyne niht, literally "fourteen nights," preserving the ancient Germanic custom of reckoning by nights, mentioned by Tacitus in "Germania" xi. Related: Fortnightly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper