Trivia

Hard

The Word “Fortnight” Is Derived From?

German Merchants
Scottish Clan Traditions
French Military Slang
An Old English Contraction
A monthly calendar page.
Itzuvit/Wikimedia

Answer: An Old English Contraction

If you’d never given much thought to the word “fortnight”, an English word that denotes a length of fourteen days, it’d be easy to assume it has something to do with military history. After all, the word seems like a pretty straightforward contraction of “fort” and “night”.

The word is a contraction, but a very old one, and the “fort” portion of it has nothing to do with military outposts. Fortnight comes to us by way of the Old English term “fēowertȳne niht”, or “fourteen nights”, and over time simply became “fortnight”.

The word is old enough that we have no concrete records of when it first came into use, nor do we have any concrete indication of why, but it’s safe to assume that English needed a simple way to express a unit of time readily analogous to half a month. Thus fortnight was born.

Still in regular use in most of the English-speaking world today, the word has fallen largely out of favor in North America, with intervals of two week events (such as receiving a paycheck every two weeks) described as “biweekly”—a word we find a tad inelegant compared to “fortnightly”, since biweekly could be interpreted to mean every other week or twice a week, whereas fortnightly has a singular definition.

Trivia

Hard

What Accounts For One Third Of America’s Evening Internet Traffic?

Trivia

Easy

In The Early 20th Century, Many Aircraft Engines Were Started With A?

Trivia

Very Hard

The Highest Concentration Of Unique Mammals Is Found In?

Trivia

Easy

Which Of These Fruits Contains A Powerful Natural Meat Tenderizer?

Trivia

Very Hard

Which Video Game Was The First To Feature Procedural Generation?

Trivia

Hard

Boba Fett Made His First Appearance In Which Of These Star Wars Properties?

Trivia

Easy

Standardized Time Keeping Was Brought About By The Advent Of What?

Trivia

Easy

Which Disney Park Was Originally Intended To Be A Populated Community?

Trivia

Hard

A Player Cameo In Which Nintendo Game Remained Largely Unknown For Over A Decade?