X

Trivia

Hard

The Word “Fortnight” Is Derived From?

Scottish Clan Traditions
French Military Slang
An Old English Contraction
German Merchants

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

Which Cereal Company Had A Brief Stint As A Video Game Development House?

Trivia

Easy

Albumen Is A Frequently Used Culinary Component More Commonly Known As?

Trivia

Hard

The Term “Loophole” Used To Refer To An Exploit Has Its Origins In?

Trivia

Easy

Where Do Venomous Snakes Outnumber Non-venomous Snakes?

Trivia

Easy

In The Original Usage, “Freelancers” Were?

Trivia

Easy

Many Of The Modern Aspects Of Grocery Shopping Were Pioneered By Which Of These Stores?

Trivia

Easy

A Non-Functioning Gargoyle Is Known As What?

Trivia

Easy

The First Use Of The Term “Cooties” In English Was To Refer To?

Trivia

Hard

The First All Digital Film Featuring Performance Captured Actors Was?

Trivia

Hard

The Last Version of Windows To Use FAT As The Default File System Was?