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What Does “Biweekly” Mean? Definition and Examples

Updated on November 15, 2023Professionals

Biweekly can mean twice a week or once every two weeks, but most people use it to refer to the latter. There are times, however, when a biweekly meeting on your work schedule may occur twice a week.

We’ll dive deeper into the meaning of biweekly, why it sometimes confuses people, provide synonyms to avoid uncertainty, and discuss other time-related words that use the bi- prefix.

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What does biweekly mean?

Biweekly is an adjective that refers to something that happens twice a week or once every two weeks, though most native American English speakers use it to mean the former. To avoid confusion, most say “twice a week” or “once every two weeks.”

Biweekly contains the prefix bi- and the root word weekly. People are sometimes unsure what biweekly means because the prefix has two definitions: occurring every two and occurring twice. Weekly is an adjective or adverb, depending on its usage, that means once a week. So, the answer to the question “Does biweekly mean twice a week or every two weeks?” is both.

So while most people use it to mean once every two weeks, both definitions are grammatically correct. It’s important to provide context as to which definition you’re using when developing a meeting agenda or other documents for other people.

Biweekly may also be used as a noun to describe a newspaper or magazine that prints once every two weeks.

The correct spelling is biweekly and not bi-weekly. Hyphens are not used after the prefix bi- unless the root word starts with the letter I.

Biweekly is mostly found in American English. British people use the word fortnight—which derives from the old English word for “fourteen nights”—to refer to events that occur once every two weeks. Although this is an acceptable synonym for biweekly, it’s not a common term for American English speakers.

Instead, say “once every two weeks” or “twice monthly.”

Another synonym for biweekly is semiweekly, which means “twice a week.” The prefix semi- means half or partially.

What are common uses of the word biweekly?

Biweekly is most often used in professional settings to describe the frequency of meetings or how often workers are paid. A biweekly meeting with your manager takes place once every two weeks unless otherwise specified. A semiweekly meeting, on the other hand, occurs twice a week.

Biweekly pay is easier to understand. This means that paychecks will be issued once every two weeks, usually on the same day. There are 52 weeks in a calendar year, meaning that people paid on a biweekly basis receive 26 paychecks per year.

Although not as commonly used, biweekly may also refer to a magazine or newspaper that publishes once every two weeks.

Other bi– prefix words about time

While biweekly is one of the most commonly confused words with the bi- prefix, it’s not the only one.

Bimonthly also has two definitions: twice a month or once every two months. Although it’s mostly used to refer to a “twice monthly” occurrence, it’s important to provide context when using this word to explain which definition you’re using.

Biannual is more straightforward, as it’s only used to mean twice a year. In this case, the prefix bi- us is used to mean “occurring twice.” Use the word biennial to describe events occurring once every two years.

The prefix bi- can also be found in bicentennial, which means the 200th anniversary of something. Remember that bi- can also mean “occurring every two,” so bicentennial means “occurring every 200 years.”

Examples of biweekly in a sentence

Here are five examples of biweekly in a sentence.

  • A weekly blog post was too much work, but a biweekly one gives me much more time to write.
  • Let’s get a biweekly meeting on the calendar so we’re meeting at least twice a month.
  • Your biweekly paycheck will be issued every other Friday.
  • We’re still good friends! In fact, we have our biweekly coffee date later today.
  • Can you drive me to my biweekly physical therapy session?

Biweekly FAQs

What does biweekly mean?

Biweekly means twice a week or once every other week, though it’s more commonly used to refer to the latter.

Does biweekly mean twice a week or every other week?

Biweekly means both, but most American English speakers use it to refer to something occurring every other week or twice monthly.

What are some common uses of the word biweekly?

Biweekly is most commonly used to refer to the cadence of meetings or paychecks. In both cases, it’s commonly understood to mean twice monthly or once every other week, usually taking place on the same day of the week.

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