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A Bi-weekly controversy ! Options
dev_sircar
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 6:23:52 AM

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A journal is published bi-weekly.
What does the word ‘Bi-weekly’ mean ? Twice a week or once in two weeks ?
The Oxford Illustrated Dictionary, a copy of which I possess, gives the meaning of Bi- (prefix), as : Twice- , doubly, having two.
Some people I consulted said it meant both; i.e: 1 once every two weeks. 2 twice each week.
However, a meaning should be unique to be useful.
When I say, “This journal is published bi-weekly", I would like to attribute a definite meaning to my statement.


man's work is from Sun to Sun; woman's work is never done! - INDIRA GANDHI : Erstwhile Prime Minister of INDIA.
niblick
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 6:48:56 AM
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It seems a classic case of don't ask, don't tell.
B355E
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 6:50:31 AM

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My first thought was "once every two weeks", but reading your post made me wonder. Hope an expert will explain! :-)

Only the heart can see clearly: what is important is invisible to the eyes. The Little Prince
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 7:04:53 AM

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Once again, from TFD:


Biweekly


Bi-weekly, sometimes referred to as fortnightly, is a reference to an event that occurs once every two weeks. A two week interval is equivalent to one fortnight. An example of a biweekly event would be the production of some magazines or the payday of some companies.

fort·night·ly [fawrt-nahyt-lee]adjective, adverb, noun, plural.
–adjective 1.occurring or appearing once a fortnight.
–adverb 2.once a fortnight. –noun 3.a periodical issued every two weeks.

There are fifty-two weeks in a year of twelve months, making for a possible 26 biweekly events in a year. This is a greater number than if such events were held twice a month, due to the fact that most months have more than four weeks (28 days). However, biweekly is often thought of incorrectly as twice a month. Twice a month is called "semimonthly," not biweekly.

According to Webster's dictionary, Bi-weekly can also be a reference to an event that occurs twice per week. Given the ambiguity and unscientific nature of this denotation, some authorities recommend avoiding the term where precision is required.

See Also

Spelling biweekly with an embedded hyphen is incorrect. This error stems from a common misinterpretation of the syllable separator found in printed versions of the dictionary. The syllable separator is actually a dot, but is mistaken as a dash.

References and Notes

1. bi-weekly. Online dictionary. Merriam-Webster.
2. bi-weekly. Oxford Dictionaries.





In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
pedro
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 7:22:22 AM

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well bi-annually means twice a year so bi-weekly would be twice a week although I can't recall it being used up until now. Once every two weeks is covered by 'fortnightly' in any case. For higher numbers 'six times per week, say, is less prone to be misunderstood than sex-weekly (or is that sextuply or somesuch?), so unless you are a lawyer , politician or a salesman I would stick with that.

All good ideas arrive by chance- Max Ernst
thar
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 7:30:40 AM

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Bi- weekly means every 2 weeks, or fortnightly, for twice a week use semiweekly

for annual, they have solved the problem a different way
annual - once a year
biannual - twice a year
biennial - every two years

or ,for people reluctant to use biannual
semi-annual - half yearly ie twice a year

Should not really use semi-weekly for week because what is half a week? And you are mixing languages: semi-ebdomadikoic anyone?
HoosierDaddy
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 7:32:35 AM

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This comes up in my place of work often. Here, Bi-annual means every two years. Semi-annual means twice a year. This applies to any time increment.
pedro
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 7:39:35 AM

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we have a conflict

All good ideas arrive by chance- Max Ernst
songbird6
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 8:01:14 AM

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Since bi-weekly could be interpreted either way and is confusing, suggest stating exactly what you mean. Is it twice a week or every other week/semi-monthly? All are correct.
thar
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 8:03:19 AM

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HoosierDaddy wrote:
This comes up in my place of work often. Here, Bi-annual means every two years. Semi-annual means twice a year. This applies to any time increment.


Do you not have biennials or biennale in the US? Is biennial BE but not AE?

example of use in BE, from Tate Gallery website:


London Biennale
The London Biennale was founded in 1998 by David Medalla. It has evolved into an artist community loosely based around London and the biennial events that take place there. Totalling over 300 artists, the Biennale organisation is not restricted to London, playing an active part in international events such as the 2003 Changing Channels event in Berlin.


It looks like biannual is another word you should be careful to avoid or explain when talking across the pond or to the world. Like pavements, pants and billions. Open to disastrous misunderstandings!

RuthP
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 10:04:40 AM

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Another trip-you-up facet of (American?) English.

Thar- "biennial" is known in the U.S., but more commonly used botanically. In other usage, biennial is less-frequently seen than biannual.

According to the (Free) online Oxford dictionary: Biennial and (Free) online Oxford dictionary: biannual

Biennial means every other year, once every two years.

Biannual means twice in one year.

The Merriam-Webster online: Biennial and Merriam-Webster online: Biannual (AE) is a little different

Biennial means every other year, which is the same definition as "Oxford."

Biannual, however, means either twice in one year (agrees with "Oxford") or every other year, which is synonymous with biennial.

Dictionary.com: Biennial and Dictionary.com Biannual (AE) shows results pretty much the same as "Merriam Webster."

All agree ("Oxford," "Merriam Webster," and "Dictionary.com") that other bi- forms (bi-weekly, bi-monthly) are ambiguous in meaning. Etymologies, where available, show biennial to date from the early 17th century, whereas biannual dates from the mid 19th century.

The notes on usage under "bi-" were all interesting (OED: bi-, Merriam Webster: bi-, Dict.com: bi-), and I particularly liked this at "Merriam Webster" regarding the ambiguity:

Quote:
This ambiguity has been in existence for nearly a century and a half and cannot be eliminated by the dictionary.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 10:13:32 AM

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Luckily in this matter the French have come to help. Almost all international happenings occurring every two years are called Biennale of...


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
early_apex
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 11:01:38 AM

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dev_sircar wrote:
A journal is published bi-weekly.
What does the word ‘Bi-weekly’ mean ? Twice a week or once in two weeks ?
The Oxford Illustrated Dictionary, a copy of which I possess, gives the meaning of Bi- (prefix), as : Twice- , doubly, having two.
Some people I consulted said it meant both; i.e: 1 once every two weeks. 2 twice each week.
However, a meaning should be unique to be useful.
When I say, “This journal is published bi-weekly", I would like to attribute a definite meaning to my statement.


Dev, if you want to attribute definite meaning, you must use "twice a week" or "once every other week", or some such construction. Save "biweekly" and "biannual" when your desire is to be imprecise. For instance, you can say you will publish the journal biweekly, but after a week goes by and you don't get around to it, you can say you meant every two weeks. If you manage to get the journal out in two weeks, you are set up for bi-monthly publication. Whistle

"Shut up, she explained." - Ring Lardner
thar
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 11:10:09 AM

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If four times a year is quartlerly, no controversy, then how about

twelfthly
twentyfourthly
Fiftytwothly
One hundred and fourthly

removes any confusion!

pedro
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 11:15:39 AM

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thar wrote:
If four times a year is quartlerly, no controversy, then how about

twelfthly
twentyfourthly
Fiftytwothly
One hundred and fourthly

removes any confusion!




so taking a year as being 365.25 days, one hundred and fourthly of a year becomes 3 days 12 hours 17 minutes and 18.4668 seconds

All good ideas arrive by chance- Max Ernst
jcbarros
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 11:41:27 AM

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Houston, we have a problem...
early_apex
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 3:04:30 PM

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pedro wrote:
thar wrote:
If four times a year is quartlerly, no controversy, then how about

twelfthly
twentyfourthly
Fiftytwothly
One hundred and fourthly

removes any confusion!




so taking a year as being 365.25 days, one hundred and fourthly of a year becomes 3 days 12 hours 17 minutes and 18.4668 seconds


An approximation. From Wikipedia:
"The mean tropical year, as of January 1, 2000 was 365.2421897 or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 45.19 seconds."

To be more exact, the one hundred and fourthly would be 3 days 12 hours 17 minutes and 11.973 seconds, more or less.

"Shut up, she explained." - Ring Lardner
excaelis
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 5:33:35 PM

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early_apex wrote:
pedro wrote:
thar wrote:
If four times a year is quartlerly, no controversy, then how about

twelfthly
twentyfourthly
Fiftytwothly
One hundred and fourthly

removes any confusion!




so taking a year as being 365.25 days, one hundred and fourthly of a year becomes 3 days 12 hours 17 minutes and 18.4668 seconds


An approximation. From Wikipedia:
"The mean tropical year, as of January 1, 2000 was 365.2421897 or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 45.19 seconds."

To be more exact, the one hundred and fourthly would be 3 days 12 hours 17 minutes and 11.973 seconds, more or less.


Oddly enough, that corresponds exactly with my Martini cravings. Cosmic.

Sanity is not statistical
Investigator
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 6:32:06 PM

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Biweekly can refer to once every two weeks or twice a week. Both are used. The more precise term for twice a week would be semi-weekly.

If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in heaven than I shall not go. - Mark Twain

Eschew obfuscation!
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 6:34:30 PM

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excaelis wrote:
early_apex wrote:
pedro wrote:
thar wrote:
If four times a year is quartlerly, no controversy, then how about

twelfthly
twentyfourthly
Fiftytwothly
One hundred and fourthly

removes any confusion!




so taking a year as being 365.25 days, one hundred and fourthly of a year becomes 3 days 12 hours 17 minutes and 18.4668 seconds


An approximation. From Wikipedia:
"The mean tropical year, as of January 1, 2000 was 365.2421897 or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 45.19 seconds."

To be more exact, the one hundred and fourthly would be 3 days 12 hours 17 minutes and 11.973 seconds, more or less.


Oddly enough, that corresponds exactly with my Martini cravings. Cosmic.



While trying to integrate to home interior in the vestibule after a jolly good pub night:

"Aah, Here you are! You promised to come home by midnight. You are exactly 3 hours 21 minutes and 29.2198763 seconds late. Where have you been?"

"Oh dear, you know we have the fiftytwothly tactical palaver every week."

"Don't tell me. And don't try to confuse me by speaking Bulgarian. You've been playing pétanque, I can smell it."


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
dev_sircar
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 10:55:28 PM

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early_apex wrote:
dev_sircar wrote:
A journal is published bi-weekly.
What does the word ‘Bi-weekly’ mean ? Twice a week or once in two weeks ?
The Oxford Illustrated Dictionary, a copy of which I possess, gives the meaning of Bi- (prefix), as : Twice- , doubly, having two.
Some people I consulted said it meant both; i.e: 1 once every two weeks. 2 twice each week.
However, a meaning should be unique to be useful.
When I say, “This journal is published bi-weekly", I would like to attribute a definite meaning to my statement.


Dev, if you want to attribute definite meaning, you must use "twice a week" or "once every other week", or some such construction. Save "biweekly" and "biannual" when your desire is to be imprecise. For instance, you can say you will publish the journal biweekly, but after a week goes by and you don't get around to it, you can say you meant every two weeks. If you manage to get the journal out in two weeks, you are set up for bi-monthly publication. Whistle

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The question is not of my using other words/phrases for conveying definite meaning. The question is how can the word Bi-weeklybe made to convey a definite meaning by discussion among the members and, thereafter, by referring the matter to TFD.

man's work is from Sun to Sun; woman's work is never done! - INDIRA GANDHI : Erstwhile Prime Minister of INDIA.
dev_sircar
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 10:58:23 PM

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The thread is about the word Bi-weeklyand I would appeal to/request the respected members to keep to the thread.

man's work is from Sun to Sun; woman's work is never done! - INDIRA GANDHI : Erstwhile Prime Minister of INDIA.
Atiya
Posted: Friday, October 1, 2010 12:52:18 AM

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There is no oversized picture on this thread, but still I have to use the horizontal scroll bar to see the full comments. Why ? Think

It is good to rub and polish your mind against that of others.—Michel de Montaigne, essayist (1533-1592)
thar
Posted: Friday, October 1, 2010 3:55:16 AM

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dev_sircar wrote:
The thread is about the word Bi-weeklyand I would appeal to/request the respected members to keep to the thread.


After a time, everything obvious that can be said, has been said, and the question well answered. After that the kids come out to play and have a little fun. We are all here by choice.

Enjoy the community! Applause
lenam
Posted: Friday, October 1, 2010 4:16:44 AM

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thar wrote:
dev_sircar wrote:
The thread is about the word Bi-weeklyand I would appeal to/request the respected members to keep to the thread.


After a time, everything obvious that can be said, has been said, and the question well answered. After that the kids come out to play and have a little fun. We are all here by choice.

Enjoy the community! Applause


Applause Dancing Whistle Dancing Whistle

"Happiness is a conscious choice, not an automatic response." ~ Mildred Barthel
pedro
Posted: Friday, October 1, 2010 4:36:03 AM

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Drool Drool Drool Eh? Boo hoo! Sick Sick Sick Sick Sick Anxious Pray Applause d'oh! Whistle Liar Liar Eh? Dancing Shame on you Shame on you Brick wall Brick wall Brick wall Eh? Anxious Drool Think Silenced Silenced Pray Eh? d'oh! Applause Applause Speak to the hand Think Whistle Dancing Think Liar Silenced Think Eh? Silenced Shhh Thanks JJ for the Anxious Drool Applause correctionBoo hoo! Liar Dancing Think Eh? Not talking Pray Pray Anxious Anxious Drool Drool Applause Speak to the hand Speak to the hand Brick wall Brick wall Shame on you d'oh! Whistle




All good ideas arrive by chance- Max Ernst
thar
Posted: Friday, October 1, 2010 5:41:03 AM

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_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
quote from dev signature:The question is not of my using other words/phrases for conveying definite meaning. The question is how can the word Bi-weeklybe made to convey a definite meaning by discussion among the members and, thereafter, by referring the matter to TFD.[/quote]

Despite our best efforts, and in spite of what some of us may think, we do not actually rule the world. We come into this forum with different uses for words, and go out the same way, confident in the knowledge that our use is correct and everyone else is misguided, if interesting.

There is a bit of an American / European division here, but as all the dictionary quotes have shown, there is no correct answer, just ways to make sure people understand you. Anything else, Vive la difference!


"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

...
early_apex
Posted: Friday, October 1, 2010 8:40:16 AM

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dev_sircar wrote:
A journal is published bi-weekly.
What does the word ‘Bi-weekly’ mean ? Twice a week or once in two weeks ?
The Oxford Illustrated Dictionary, a copy of which I possess, gives the meaning of Bi- (prefix), as : Twice- , doubly, having two.
Some people I consulted said it meant both; i.e: 1 once every two weeks. 2 twice each week.
However, a meaning should be unique to be useful.
When I say, “This journal is published bi-weekly", I would like to attribute a definite meaning to my statement.


Dev,
I'm sorry that my answer was not what you wanted. I am fascinated by your idea of forcing words into certain definite meanings. Does that mean that Humpty Dumpty's words would mean only what the Queen wanted them to mean, and nothing more nor less? Even if TFD adopts your definition of a word, its meaning to others is finally determined by usage.

Meanwhile, ambiguous words and phrases are valuable tools in the toolbox for parents and politicians.

"Shut up, she explained." - Ring Lardner
pedro
Posted: Friday, October 1, 2010 8:47:50 AM

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I suppose Humpty Dumpty has two meanings as well?

All good ideas arrive by chance- Max Ernst
early_apex
Posted: Friday, October 1, 2010 8:57:33 AM

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pedro wrote:
I suppose Humpty Dumpty has two meanings as well?


I would think so. If you cannot be sure whether he is wearing a belt or a cravat, how can one be sure of anything?

"Shut up, she explained." - Ring Lardner
Tovarish
Posted: Friday, October 8, 2010 8:41:22 AM

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Where did the Queen come from? I thought it was a King and his horses.
Atiya
Posted: Friday, October 8, 2010 8:46:45 AM

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Yeah Tov, you are right.



It is good to rub and polish your mind against that of others.—Michel de Montaigne, essayist (1533-1592)
early_apex
Posted: Friday, October 8, 2010 9:47:46 AM

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Tovarish wrote:
Where did the Queen come from? I thought it was a King and his horses.


I was thinking of Alice in Wonderland. The Queen seemed to wield the most power, as I recall.

"Shut up, she explained." - Ring Lardner
dev_sircar
Posted: Friday, October 8, 2010 2:28:50 PM

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early_apex wrote:
Tovarish wrote:
Where did the Queen come from? I thought it was a King and his horses.


I was thinking of Alice in Wonderland. The Queen seemed to wield the most power, as I recall.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

ALL THE QUEEN’S HORSES AND ALL THE QUEEN’S WEMEN MIGHT HAVE PUT HUMPTY-DUMPTY TOGETHER AGAIN. They are better at mending – I suppose!
Who knows they might even have solved the Bi-weekly problem!

man's work is from Sun to Sun; woman's work is never done! - INDIRA GANDHI : Erstwhile Prime Minister of INDIA.
Tovarish
Posted: Saturday, October 9, 2010 1:18:31 AM

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Shhhhh, you will give away our little secret.
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