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[an-yoo-uh l] /ˈæn yu əl/
of, for, or pertaining to a year; yearly:
annual salary.
occurring or returning once a year:
an annual celebration.
Botany. living only one growing season, as beans or corn.
performed or executed during a year:
the annual course of the sun.
Entomology. living or lasting but one season or year, as certain insects or colonies of insects.
Botany. a plant living only one year or season.
a book, report, etc., published annually.
Origin of annual
1350-1400; < Late Latin annuālis, equivalent to Latin annu(us) yearly (derivative of annus circuit of the sun, year) + -ālis -al1; replacing Middle English annuel < Anglo-French < Latin
Related forms
annually, adverb
interannual, adjective
interannually, adverb
Can be confused
anal, annual, annul.
annual, perennial. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for annual
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The next annual meeting took place in Richmond, Dec. 3, 4, 1890.

  • Such, at least, was my luck when starting for my annual French tour in 1887.

    The Roof of France Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • If it is desired, however, to keep the old top, it will be best to cut back the annual growth heavily at the winter pruning.

    American Grape Training Liberty Hyde (L.H.) Bailey
  • Then he added, "I must go down to thank Dixon; I guess this is his annual day for smiling."

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • He makes an annual or biennial report, showing the financial condition of the State.

    Elements of Civil Government Alexander L. Peterman
British Dictionary definitions for annual


occurring, done, etc, once a year or every year; yearly: an annual income
lasting for a year: an annual subscription
a plant that completes its life cycle in less than one year Compare perennial (sense 3), biennial (sense 3)
a book, magazine, etc, published once every year
Derived Forms
annually, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin annuālis, from Latin annuus yearly, from annus year
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for annual

late 14c., from Old French annuel (12c.) or directly from Late Latin annualem (nominative annualis), corresponding to Latin annalis as adjective form of annus "year," from PIE *at-no-, from root *at- "to go," on notion of "period gone through" (cf. Sanskrit atati "goes, wanders," Gothic aþnam (dative plural) "year," Oscan akno- "year, holiday, time of offering"). Used of plants since 1710.


c.1400, originally "service commemorating the anniversary of a person's death," from annual (adj.). By 1824 as short for annual plant.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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annual in Science
Adjective  Completing a life cycle in one growing season.

Noun  An annual plant. Annuals germinate, blossom, produce seed, and die in one growing season. They are common in environments with short growing seasons. Most desert plants are annuals, germinating and flowering after rainfall. Many common weeds, wild flowers, garden flowers, and vegetables are annuals. Examples of annuals include tomatoes, corn, wheat, sunflowers, petunias, and zinnias. Compare biennial, perennial.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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