[ trahy-an-yoo-uhl ]
/ traɪˈæn yu əl /
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Definition of triannual

done, occurring, issued, etc., three times a year.
a triannual publication, contest, etc.
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
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Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of triannual

First recorded in 1630–40; tri- + annual


tri·an·nu·al·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does triannual mean?

Triannual is commonly used to mean one of two things: occurring once every three years or occurring three times per year.

Triannual is a synonym of the less commonly used triennial, which can mean every three years or lasting for three years (though triannual is rarely if ever used in this second sense.)

Yes, you can sometimes figure out what triannual means from the context of the sentence. But not always. Here’s the best (and maybe only) way to be perfectly clear: just say “three times a year” or “once every three years.”

The adverb form of triannual is triannually.

Triannual can also be used as a noun to refer to a triannual event or publication, or to a third anniversary, as in Welcome to the third triannual! 


  • The triannual tournament has been held every three years since 1916.
  • This is a triannual meeting—we have it in February, June, and October.

Where does triannual come from?

The first records of triannual come from around 1640. Tri- is a prefix meaning “three” or “three times,” and annual means “happening every year” or “once a year.”

People are often confused about whether triannual means “three times per year” or “every three years.” The thing to remember is that one isn’t more “correct” than the other. The word triennial can make things even more confusing, but that’s even less commonly used. Context can help. A triannual meeting probably happens three times a year, as opposed to every three years. (Hopefully it doesn’t mean that it lasts for three years!)

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What are some other forms related to triannual?

  • triannually (adverb)

What are some synonyms for triannual?

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

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

What are some words triannual may be commonly confused with?

How is triannual used in real life?

Events are perhaps more likely to be biannual than triannual, and so triannual is less commonly used, but it can be just as confusing.



Try using triannual!

To avoid confusion, what’s the best way to say three times a year? 

A. triyearly
B. triannual
C. triennial
D. three times a year