General English


  • The period of just over 365 days in which the Earth makes an orbit of the Sun. The word is used by analogy for the time taken for other planets to orbit to the Sun, although ‘orbital period’ is less ambiguous. The year has been defined in a large number of ways. The solar or tropical year, the usual measure of the year, is 365.242194 days and is the time taken for the Sun to return to the first point of Aries, where it crosses the celestial equator heading north. The sidereal year is the time taken for the Sun to return to the same point in the sky relative to the fixed stars, and equals 365.25636 days The anomalistic year is the time between two perigees of the Earth’s orbit, 365.25964 days. And the eclipse year, the time taken for the Sun to return to the node of the Moon’s orbit, is 365.62003 days.


  • A unit of time representing the interval required for the earth to make a complete revolution around the sun. There are approximately 3.1556926 × 107 seconds in a year. Its abbreviation is yr, y, or a.
  • symbola
  • symboly
  • abbreviationyr

Origin & History of “year”

Year is part of a widespread European family of ‘time’-words that goes back ultimately to Indo-European *jēr-, *jōr-. this also produced Greek hṓrā ‘season’ (ultimate source of English hour), Czech jaro ‘spring’, and Avestan (the ancient Persian sacred language) yāre ‘year’. From it was descended prehistoric Germanic *jǣram, which has evolved into German jahr, Dutch jaar, Swedish år, Dutch aar, and English year. It has been speculated that the Indo-European forms themselves may have been derived from a base meaning ‘go’, in which case the etymological notion underlying the word would be of time proceeding.