Definition of biennial in English:

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Pronunciation: /bīˈenēəl/


1Taking place every other year: summit meetings are normally biennial
More example sentences
  • As a featured artist in the Museum's biennial exhibition this month, he has reason to smile.
  • Established in 1998, this biennial exhibition award honors Tremaine, a life-long collector of contemporary art, who formed the foundation prior to her 1987 death.
  • While building his huge mansion in New York City, he loaned paintings from his collection to the museum, and in 1907 he provided prize money for the museum's first biennial exhibition.
2(Especially of a plant) living or lasting for two years.
Example sentences
  • Italian ryegrass, a biennial species, also may be used to increase productivity of older stands.
  • Burdock, also known as Cockle Burr, is a biennial plant which can grow to nine feet in height.
  • Lesquerella mendocina plants remained vegetative, showing a biennial habit, when sown in the field in late spring even when artificially vernalized, or in a glasshouse at similar temperatures to those of late sowings in the field.


1A plant that takes two years to grow from seed to fruition and die. Compare with annual, perennial.
Example sentences
  • Plant out hardy biennials such as foxgloves and wallflowers in their flowering positions.
  • I supplement them with annuals, biennials, vines, bulbs, and a few flowering shrubs.
  • Most people treat them as annuals or biennials, removing plants when flowering declines.
2An event celebrated or taking place every two years.
Example sentences
  • The national gymnasts are calling for more overseas tryouts in their training program prior to the biennial sporting event in September.
  • While most installations at this year's event are serious explorations of profound themes, the biennial also celebrates unadulterated creativity.
  • Thanks to his patronage of events such as the biennial, the city is the cultural capital of this nation made wealthy by oil, shipbuilding and business.


Biennial and biannual are often confused. Biennial means ‘occurring every two years’ ( the biennial Ryder Cup tournament), while biannual means ‘twice a year’ ( the solstice is a biannual event). See also bi-.



Pronunciation: /bīˈenēəlē/
Example sentences
  • The awards rotate biennially throughout different regions of the world recognizing artists who have achieved excellence in color photography.
  • From then, the event has been held biennially since 1984 in a best-of-five tournament over a single day.
  • These exclude two major events involving numerous painters and artists held by the city biennially and annually.


Early 17th century: from Latin biennis (from bi- 'twice' + annus 'year') + -al.

Words that rhyme with biennial

bicentennial, centennial, decennial, millennial, perennial, Tenniel, triennial

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bi·en·ni·al

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