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The fortnight is a unit of time equivalent to fourteen days. The word derives from the Old English feorwertyne niht, meaning "fourteen nights".[1][2]

Fortnight is a commonly used word in Britain and many Commonwealth countries such as Pakistan, India, New Zealand and Australia where many wages, salaries and most social security benefits are paid on a fortnightly basis.[3] The word is rarely used in the United States, but is used regionally in Canada. Payroll systems may use the term biweekly in reference to pay periods every two weeks. The terms fortnightly and biweekly are often mistakenly conflated with semimonthly.

In other languages

In many languages, there is no single word for a two-week period and the equivalents of "two weeks" or "fourteen days" have to be used. In Spanish, Italian, French and in Portuguese, there are the terms quincena (or quince días), quindicina, quinzaine and quinzena, all meaning "fifteen days". Similarly, in Greek, the term δεκαπενθήμερο (dekapenthímero), meaning "fifteen days", is also used. The Hindu calendar uses the Sanskrit word "paksha" to mean one half of a lunar month, which is between 14 and 15 solar days. In Welsh the term pythefnos, meaning "fifteen nights", is used instead. This is in keeping with the Welsh term for a week, which is wythnos ("eight nights")

See also

References

  1. ^ The Concise Oxford Dictionary, 5th Edition, 1964, p. 480
  2. ^ Senight, sennight or se'night (seven-night), an old word for the week, was still in use in the early nineteenth century, to judge from Jane Austen's letters.
  3. ^ "Australian Government - How much Disability Support Pension do I get?". http://www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/payments/pay_how_dsp.htm. Retrieved 2008-05-22.  
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