This word has offically won a very dubious distinction from me, which is this: I hate it with a fiery goddamn passion. Since I like words so much, it's rare that one particularly draws my ire. Flexitarian was one of those words. Metrosexual is another. But these are the cutesy, trendy type of words that would make anyone of higher intelligence than a table leg want to vomit. But biweekly? Why would someone take the time to hate a word so unobtrusive?

Because it's the single most useless fucking word in the entire English language.

My new job is as the traffic manager for HowStuffWorks. One of my jobs is to put together reports of user traffic that flows to the site, how they visit, which ads they see, blah blah blah. My boss, Janice, tells me that she wants the reports on a biweekly basis.

"Wow!" I think. "I only need to turn in my reports every two weeks? Rock on!"

I went merrily along with this impression, until Janice told me that she wanted the reports on Tuesday and Thursday. Then I got confused. How the hell was I supposed to turn in a biweekly report on two different days of the week? This was when the miscommunication became apparent. By "biweekly", she meant "twice a week". When I heard "biweekly", I thought once every two weeks.

So who's right?

According to, we both are.

bi·week·ly adj.

1. Happening every two weeks.
2. Happening twice a week; semiweekly.

Huh?! I know we have words with multiple meanings in the English language, but usually someone has the good sense to make them distinguishable by context. This is a word with two completely different and contradictory meanings in the EXACT SAME CONTEXT.

Useless. Just plain useless.

Apparently, according to Mr. '13 below, this wasn't a problem in 1913. So I have no idea when this word got so fundamentally broken.

So please, if you mean "twice a week", do my sanity a favor and use "semiweekly". Or just say "twice a week". If you mean every two weeks, then feel free to use biweekly. Just don't be surprised when your meaning is completely misunderstood.

Bi"week`ly (?), a. [Pref. bi- + weekly.]

Occurring or appearing once every two weeks; fortnightly.



A publication issued every two weeks.

-- Bi"week"ly, adv.


© Webster 1913.

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