General English


  • adjective over a period of one year
  • noun a plant whose life cycle of germination, flowering and fruiting takes place within the period of a year.

Information & Library Science

  • adjective coming out once a year

Media Studies

  • noun a book or magazine, especially one for children, that is published every year and focuses on a particular subject or area of interest

Origin & History of “annual”

Annual comes, via Old French annuel, from annuālis, a late Latin adjective based on annus ‘year’ (perhaps as a blend of two earlier, classical Latin adjectives, annuus and annālis – ultimate source of English annals (16th c.)). Annus itself may go back to an earlier, unrecorded *atnos, probably borrowed from an ancient Indo-European language of the Italian peninsula, such as Oscan or Umbrian. It appears to be related to Gothic athnam ‘years’ and Sanskrit átati ‘go, wander’.

The medieval Latin noun annuitās, formed from the adjective annuus, produced French annuité, which was borrowed into English as annuity in the 15th century.