[ sem-ee-yeer-lee, sem-ahy- ]
/ ˌsɛm iˈyɪər li, ˌsɛm aɪ- /
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twice a year; semiannually: He seeded the lawn semiyearly.
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Origin of semiyearly

First recorded in 1925–30; semi- + yearly

words often confused with semiyearly

See bi-1.


biannual, biennial, semiannual, semiyearly (see confusables note at bi-1)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does semiyearly mean?

Semiyearly means twice a year (or, technically, once every half a year).

It can be used this way as an adjective, as in a semiyearly meeting, or an adverb, as in We plan to meet semiyearly. 

The adjective semiannual means the same thing as semiyearly (if semiyearly is used as an adverb, its equivalent is semiannually). The words biannual and biyearly can be synonyms of semiyearly, but they can also mean once every two years (every other year).

Although semiyearly is only used to mean twice a year—not every two years—it can still be confusing. The best (and maybe only) way to be perfectly clear is to just say “twice a year.”

Example: The dentist recommends a checkup every six months, so I guess I have to make my semiyearly appointment.

Where does semiyearly come from?

The first records of the word semiyearly come from around the 1920s. The prefix semi- means “half” and is used similarly in the word semiweekly (meaning “twice a week”) and semimonthly (meaning “twice a month”). The suffix -ly, which usually forms adverbs, is used in semiyearly to mean “every”—making it literally mean “every half year.”

People look forward to semiyearly sales (which are more commonly called semiannual sales) because they only come around every six months. Such sales are often held at around the same time every year, such as in March and September. However, just because an event is held semiyearly doesn’t mean that occurrences have to be exactly six months apart.

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What are some synonyms for semiyearly?

What are some words that share a root or word element with semiyearly



What are some words that often get used in discussing semiyearly?

How is semiyearly used in real life?

Semiyearly means the same thing as semiannual, but it’s less commonly used. In general, to avoid confusion, it’s probably best to just say “twice a year.”



Try using semiyearly!

Is semiyearly used correctly in the following sentence?

The magazine will transition from a semiyearly release schedule to a quarterly one.

How to use semiyearly in a sentence

  • A semiyearly settling period had come around, and he had found himself without sufficient funds to pay in full, as he usually did.

    Dominie Dean|Ellis Parker Butler

British Dictionary definitions for semiyearly

/ (ˌsɛmɪˈjɪəlɪ) /

another word for semiannual
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