An anniversary is the date on which an event took place or an institution was founded in a previous year, and may also refer to the commemoration or celebration of that event. The word was first used for Catholic feasts to commemorate saints.

On the 40th anniversary of his reign, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden toasts the city's Mayor in front of Stockholm Palace.
Memorial plaque presented by the National Capital Sesquicentennial Commission, 1951

Most countries celebrate national anniversaries, typically called national days. These could be the date of independence of the nation or the adoption of a new constitution or form of government. There is no definite method for determining the date of establishment of an institution, and it is generally decided within the institution by convention. The important dates in a sitting monarch's reign may also be commemorated, an event often referred to as a "jubilee".


The Latin phrase dies natalis (literally "birth day") has become a common term, adopted in many languages, especially in intellectual and institutional circles, for the anniversary of the founding ("legal or statutory birth") of an institution, such as an alma mater (college or other school). In ancient Rome, the [dies] Aquilae natalis was the "birthday of the eagle", the anniversary of the official founding of a legion.

Anniversaries of nations are usually marked by the number of years elapsed, expressed with Latin words or Roman numerals.


Latin terms for anniversaries are mostly straightforward, particularly those relating to the first thirty years (1–30), or multiples of ten years (30, 40, 50, 60, 70 etc.), or multiples of centuries or millenniums (100, 200, 300, 1000, 2000, 3000, etc.) In these instances, the name of the anniversary is generally derived from the Latin word(s) for the respective number of years. When anniversaries relate to fractions of centuries (125, 150, 175, 225 years—i.e. 1.25, 1.5, 1.75, and 2.25 centuries), the situation is not as simple.

Roman fractions were based on a duodecimal system. From 112 to 812 they were expressed as multiples of twelfths (uncia "twelfth"; the source of the English words inch and ounce) and from 912 to 1112 they were expressed as multiple twelfths less than the next whole unit—i.e. a whole unit less 312, 212 or 112 respectively. There were also special terms for quarter (quadrans), half (semis), and three-quarters (dodrans). Dodrans is a Latin contraction of de-quadrans which means "a whole unit less a quarter" (de means "from"; quadrans means "quarter"). Thus for the example of 175 years, the term is a quarter century less than the next whole (bi)century or 175 = (−25 + 200).[1]

In Latin, it seems that this rule did not apply precisely for 1+12. While secundus is Latin for "second", and bis for "twice", these terms are not used such as in sesqui-secundus. Instead sesqui (or ses) is used by itself.

Anniversary Latin-derived term Other terms Comments
1 DayDatal
1 WeekWeekal
1 MonthMonthal
3 monthsQuarteral
6 monthsSemiannual 'Biannual' means twice in a year, but is also commonly used incorrectly to mean once every two years ('biennial').
1 yearAnnualPaper
2 yearsBiennialCotton'Biennial' means once every two years, but is also commonly used incorrectly to mean twice in a year ('biannual').
3 yearsTriennialLeather
4 yearsQuadrennialLinen
5 yearsQuinquennialWood
6 yearsSexennialIron
7 yearsSeptennialWool
8 yearsOctennialBronze
9 yearsNovennialCopper
10 yearsDecennial Tin
11 yearsUndecennialSteel
12 yearsDuodecennialSilk
1212 yearsParsleyA humorous or mock wedding anniversary celebrated in Germany and the Netherlands where everyone needs to wear something green
13 yearsTredecennialLace
14 yearsQuattuordecennialIvory
15 yearsQuindecennialCrystal
16 yearsSexdecennialSapphireSapphire is separately used for other anniversaries
17 yearsSeptdecennialOrchid
18 yearsOctdecennialQuartz
19 yearsNovdecennialJade
20 yearsVigintennial China/Porcelain
21 yearsunvigintennial
22 yearsduovigintennial
23 yearstrivigintennial
24 yearsquadrivigintennial
25 yearsQuadranscentennialSilver
26 yearssexavigintennial
27 yearsseptvigintennial
28 yearsoctovigintennial
29 yearsNonavigintennial
30 yearsTricennial Pearl
35 yearsQuintricennialCoral
40 yearsQuadragennial Ruby
45 yearsQuinquadragennialSapphire
50 yearsSemicentennial Golden Previously, "jubilee" by itself was used to indicate celebrations at 50 year intervals
55 yearsQuinquinquagennial Emerald
60 yearsSexagennial Diamond Diamond is separately used for the 75th anniversary, its use for 60th years being popularized by Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria
65 yearsQuinsexagennialSapphireSapphire is separately used for other anniversaries
70 yearsSeptuagennial Platinum
75 yearsSemisesquicentennial Diamond Diamond is separately used for the 60th anniversary
80 yearsOctogintennial Oak
85 yearsquinoctogennial
90 yearsNonagintennial Granite
95 yearsquinnonagennial
100 yearsCentennial
110 yearsdecaCentennial
120 yearsbidecaCentennial
125 yearsQuasquicentennialTerm is broken down as quasqui- (and a quarter) centennial (100 years). Quasqui is a contraction from quadrans "a quarter" plus the clitic conjunction -que "and". The term was coined by Funk and Wagnalls editor Robert L. Chapman in 1961.[2]
130 yearstridecaCentennial
140 yearsquadridecaCentennial
150 yearsSesquicentennialTerm broken down as sesqui- (one and a half) centennial (100 years)
160 yearssexadecaCentennial
170 yearsseptdecaCentennial
175 yearsDodransbicentennial Dodrans is a Latin contraction of de-quadrans which means "a whole unit less a quarter" (de means "from"; quadrans means "quarter"). 175 years is a quarter century less than the next whole (bi)century (175 = 200 − 25).[1]
DodrabicentennialAlternative Latin form of Dodransbicentennial
DequasbicentennialAlternative Latin form of Dodransbicentennial
DosquicentennialDosquicentennial has been used in modern times and this is perhaps a modern contraction of "de-quadrans".[1]
DemisemiseptcentennialProbably a modern coined term: demisemiseptcentennial; literally one-half (demi-) × one-half (semi-) × seven (sept-) × 100 years (centennial)—also demisemiseptcentenary.[3][4]
QuartoseptcentennialProbably a modern coined term: quartoseptcentennial; literally one-quarter (quarto-) × seven (sept-) × 100 years (centennial)—also quartoseptcentenary.[3]
TerquasquicentennialA coined word for an anniversary of 175 years, but the elements of the word literally refer to an anniversary of 375 years, as follows: ter- (3) × quasqui- (114) × centennial (100 years)
SeptaquintaquinquecentennialSuggested by lexicographer Robert L. Chapman to William Safire; first appeared in Safire's column, "On Language" (The New York Times Magazine, February 12, 1995). It is a coined word for an anniversary of 175 years, but the elements of the word literally refer to an anniversary of 35,000 years, as follows: septaquinta- (70) × quinque- (5) × centennial (100 years)
180 yearsoctodecaCentennial
190 yearsnonadecaCentennial
200 yearsBicentennial
225 yearsQuasquibicentennial
250 yearsSestercentennial To express 2+12 in Latin it would be expressed as "half-three". The term relates to being halfway [from the second] to the third integer. In Latin this is "Sestertius", which is a contraction of semis (halfway) tertius (third)—hence Sestercentennial.[1]
SemiquincentennialProbably a modern coined term: semi- (half) × quin (5) × centennial (100 years) = 250 years. Used by Brown University in 2015.[5]
BicenquinquagenaryUsed by Princeton University in 1996, Reading, Pennsylvania in 1998, and Washington and Lee University in 1999.[6] It is a coined word for an anniversary of 250 years: bi- (2) × cen(t)- (100) + quinquagenary (50 years).
QuadransmillennialFrom quadrans- (quarter) x millennial (1000 years).
275 yearsdodranstricentennial
300 yearsTercentenary
325 yearsquasquitricentennial
350 yearsSesquarcentennial Sesquarcentennial is a modern coined term; sesquarcentennial for 350 years is deduced here from the "Sestertius" definition for 250 years above. For 350 years it relates to being halfway from the third to the fourth integer; thus a contraction of semis (halfway) and quartus (fourth); hence Sesquarcentennial. Semiseptcennial is probably a modern coined term: semi- (half) × sept (7) × cen(t)- (100) × centennial (350 years).
375 yearsdodransquadricentennial
400 yearsQuadricentennial
425 yearsquasquiquadricentennial
450 yearsSesquincentennial
475 yearsdodransquincentennial
500 yearsQuincentenary
550 yearsSessexacentennial
600 yearsSexcentenary
650 yearsSesseptcentennial
700 yearsSeptcentennial Probably a coined term; earliest known use in March 1988.[8] Chiang Mai Septcentennial Stadium (Chiang Mai, Thailand) was completed in 1991.[9]
750 yearsSesoctocentennial
800 yearsOctocentenary
850 yearsSesnonacentennial
900 yearsNonacentennial
950 yearsSesdecacentennial
1000 yearsMillennial
1100 yearscentimillennial
1200 yearsbicentimillennial
1300 yearstricentimillennial
1400 yearsquadricentimillennial
1500 yearsSesquimillennialTerm broken down as sesqui- (one and a half) millennial (1000 years)
1600 yearssexacentimillennial
1700 yearsseptcentimillennial
1800 yearsoctocentimillennial
1900 yearsnonacentimillennial
2000 yearsBimillennial
2100 yearscentibimillennial
2200 yearsduocentibimillennial
2300 yearstricentibimillennial
2400 yearsquadricentibimillennial
2500 yearssesquibimillennial
2600 yearssexacentibimillennial
2700 yearsseptcentibimillennial
2800 yearsoctocentibimillennial
2900 yearsnonacentibimillennial
3000 yearsTrimillennial
3500 yearssesquitrimillennial
4000 yearsQuadrimillennial
4500 yearssesquiquadrimillennial
5000 yearsQuinmillennial
5500 yearssesquiquinmillennial
6000 yearssexamillennial
6500 yearsSesquisexamillenial
7000 yearsseptmillennial
7500 yearssesquiseptmillennial
8000 yearsoctomillennial
8500 yearssesquioctmillennial
9000 yearsnonamillennial
9500 yearsSesquinonamillenial
10,000 yearsDecamillennial
11,000 yearsunDecamillennial
12,000 yearsdoDecamillennial
13,000 yearstreDecamillennial
14,000 yearsquattuordecamillennial
15,000 yearsquindecimillennial
16,000 yearssexaDecamillennial
17,000 yearsseptDecamillennial
18,000 yearsoctoDecamillennial
19,000 yearsnonadecamillennial
20,000 yearsVigintimillennial
25,000 yearsQuinvigintimillennial
30,000 yearstrigintimillenial
35,000 yearsQuinteigintimillennial
40,000 yearsQuadragintimillennial
45,000 yearsQuinquadragintimillenial
50,000 yearsQuinagintimillenial
60,000 yearsSexagintimillenial
70,000 yearsSeptagintimillenial
80,000 yearsOctagaintimillenial
90,000 yearsnonagintimillenial
100,000 YearsCentimillenial
200,000 Yearsbicentimillenial
300,000 Yearstricentimillenial
400,000 Yearsquadricentimillenial
500,000 Yearsquincentimillenial
1,000,000 YearsMegannualFrom megannum
2,000,000 Yearsbimegannual
3,000,000 Yearstrimegannual
5,000,000 Yearsquinmegannual
10,000,000 YearsDecamegannual
20,000,000 YearsduoDecamegannual
50,000,000 yearsquindecamegannual
100,000,000 Yearscentimegannual
250,000,000 Yearssesquibicentimegannual
500,000,000 Yearsquincentimegannual
1,000,000,000 yearsGigannual
5,000,000,000 yearsquinGigannual
10,000,000,000 yearsdecaGigannual
100,000,000,000 yearscentiGigannual
1,000,000,000,000 YearsTerannual
10^15 YearsPetannual
10^18 YearsExannual
10^21 yearsZettannual
10^24 yearsYottannual
10^27 YearsRonnannual
10^30 yearsQuettannual
10^33 YearsQuetkilannual
10^36 yearsQuetmegannual
10^39 yearsQuetgigannual
10^42 yearsQuetterannual
10^45 yearsQuetpetannual
10^48 yearsQuetexannual
10^51 yearsQuetzettannual
10^54 yearsQuetyottannual
10^57 yearsQuetronnannual
10^60 yearsQuetquetannual / Duetannual
10^63 YearsDuetkilannual
10^100 yearsGoogannual
10^303 yearsCentilliannual


Many anniversaries have special names. Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home by Emily Post, published in 1922, contained suggestions for wedding anniversary gifts for 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, and 75 years.[10] Wedding anniversary gift suggestions for other years were added in later editions and publications; they now comprise what is referred to as the "traditional" list. Generally speaking, the longer the period, the more precious or durable the material associated with it.

There are variations according to some national traditions. There exist numerous partially overlapping, partially contradictory lists of anniversary gifts (such as wedding stones), separate from the 'traditional' names. The concepts of a person's birthday stone and zodiac stone, by contrast, are fixed for life according to the day of the week, month, or astrological sign corresponding to the recipient's birthday.

See also


  1. "SA 175th Jubilee". Clipper Ship 'City of Adelaide'. Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved March 8, 2011. So the name for a 175th anniversary? For now it is really up to the preference of the reader. One day one of these terms may make its way into popular usage, become accepted, and find a place in a dictionary.
  2. Chapman, Robert L. (February 1965). "The History of "Quasquicentennial"". American Speech. 40 (1): 53–57. doi:10.2307/454178. ISSN 0003-1283. JSTOR 454178. It is our policy to reply as courteously and helpfully as we can to such requests, and I answered Mr. Hatten on August 7, suggesting quasquicentennial. Since this is a history, I shall quote the letter in full: Dr. Wilfred Funk has passed your letter of July I on to us. We are happy to help, if you feel that you really want a new Latinate word meaning "one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary". The best model upon which to form the word is "sesquicentennial", meaning "one hundred and fiftieth anniversary". We need a first element meaning "plus a fourth", analogous with "sesqui" which means "plus a half". "Sesqui" is apparently formed from "semis que", meaning "and a half". Now, both "quarta" and "quadrans" mean "a fourth", so we may begin with either "quarta que" or "quadrans que". The trick is to combine and shorten one of these as "sesqui" was combined and shortened from "semis que". If we follow the model of "sesqui" very closely, retaining the stressed vowel and final "s" of "quadrans", we get the word "quasquicentennial". Combining and shortening in other ways we can also get "quadqui-", "quansqui-", "quarsqui-", and perhaps several others. On the grounds that it is closest to the model and also probably the least ugly of the set, I would choose "quasquicentennial" (pronounced kwahskwee-) as the new word. Of course, you may decide that you do not really want or need a new word. There is no point in proliferating them needlessly. I should add, perhaps, that this word would not appear in any of our dictionaries until it had established itself in wide currency, even if you should decide to use it. I hope we have been able to help you.
  3. "Under the Cupola". Neighbors of Batavia. July–August 2008. p. 29. The etymology of "demisemiseptcentennial" is compared to "hemidemisemiquaver", a 64th note.
  4. "Pickle Barrel: 175th-birthday bash planned for Dillsburg." The Patriot-News (Mechanicsburg, Penn.), Wednesday, 18 June 2008.
  5. "Brown lowers the curtain on 15-month semiquincentenary". Brown University. 2015-06-11. Retrieved 2015-06-11.
  6. McCleery, William (November 19, 1997). "The Meaning of the 250th". Princeton Alumni Weekly. Princeton University. Retrieved March 23, 2011. Faster, it seems, than you can say "bicenquinquagenary", Princeton's 250th anniversary has come and gone.
  7. "A Memorial of the Celebration of the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Settlement of the Town of Northampton, Massachusetts". City of Northampton. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
  8. Kersten, Glenn (March 1988). "Naming the Anniversaries". Quidnunc. Archived from the original on 21 January 2005. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  9. Architects 49: Selected and Current Work. (The Master Architect Series; 5.) Image Publishing Group, 2006. ISBN 978-1-876907-09-9
  10. "22. The Day of the Wedding. Post, Emily. 1922. Etiquette".
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