Meaning of YEAR in English

year S1 W1 /jɪə, jɜː $ jɪr/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ year ; adverb : ↑ yearly ; adjective : ↑ yearly ]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: gear ]

1 . 12 MONTHS a period of about 365 days or 12 months, measured from any particular time:

I arrived here two years ago.

We’ve known each other for over a year.

It’s almost a year since Sue died.

Jodi is 15 years old.

a three-year business plan

a four-year-old child

be 12/21 etc years of age (=be 12/21 etc years old) ⇨ ↑ financial year , ↑ fiscal year , ↑ light year , ↑ tax year

2 . JANUARY TO DECEMBER ( also calendar year ) a period of 365 or 366 days divided into 12 months beginning on January 1st and ending on December 31st:

the year that Kennedy died

in the year 1785

this/last/next year

They moved here at the beginning of this year.

last year’s cup final

She goes there every year.

The museum attracts 100,000 visitors a year.

in the early years of last century

⇨ ↑ leap year , ↑ New Year

3 . years

a) informal a very long period of time SYN ages :

It’s years since I rode a bike.

in/for years

I haven’t been there for years.

It was the first time in years I’d seen her.

b) age, especially old age

a man/woman/person etc of his/her etc years

Gordon is very active for a man of his years.

getting on in years (=no longer young)

4 . all (the) year round during the whole year:

It’s warm enough to swim all year round.

⇨ ↑ year-round

5 . year by year as each year passes:

Business has steadily increased year by year.

6 . year after year/year in, year out every year for many years:

Many birds return to the same spot year after year.

7 . PERIOD OF LIFE/HISTORY years [plural] a particular period of time in someone’s life or in history:

the difficult years following the war

Sheila enjoyed her years as a student in Oxford.

8 . the school/academic year the time within a period of 12 months when students are studying at a school or university

9 . SCHOOL/UNIVERSITY LEVEL especially British English a particular level that a student stays at for one year:

a group of year seven students

in a year

He was in my year at school.

10 . first/second etc year British English someone who is in their first etc year at school or university:

The department offers a study skills programme for all first years.

11 . musician/player/car etc of the year the musician etc who was voted the best in a particular year

vote/name something ... of the year

The new Renault was voted car of the year.

12 . year on year compared with the previous year:

Sales rose by 39 per cent year on year.

13 . never/not in a million years spoken used to say that something is extremely unlikely:

Never in a million years did I think we’d lose.

14 . the year dot British English informal a very long time ago:

Scientists have been involved in war since the year dot.

15 . put years on somebody/take years off somebody to make someone look or feel older or younger:

Tina’s divorce has put years on her.

⇨ donkey’s years at ↑ donkey (2)

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ adjectives

▪ this year

She will be eight this year.

▪ next year

I might go to law school next year.

▪ last year

Last year we spent a lot on the house.

▪ every year

They go back to the same resort every year.

▪ the current year

The budget for the current year was £13 million.

▪ the coming year (=the year that is about to start)

Here are some events to look out for in the coming year.

▪ the past year

Over the past year everyone has worked extremely hard.

▪ the previous year

They had married the previous year.

▪ the following year

The following year he was made captain of the team.

▪ the new year (=used to talk about the beginning of the next year)

The report is due at the beginning of the new year.

■ phrases

▪ the beginning/start of the year

They moved here at the beginning of last year.

▪ the end of the year

Work should finish around the end of the year.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 7)


▪ early years

Little is known about his early years.


He remembers the early years of television.

▪ the last/latter/closing years of something

He changed his opinion during the last years of his life.

▪ somebody's childhood/teenage years

the home in which she spent her childhood years

▪ the war years

She worked for the BBC during the war years.

▪ the boom years (=when an economy or industry is very successful)

In the boom years, things weren't too bad.

▪ somebody's retirement years

He enjoyed his retirement years in Wales.

▪ the Bush/Blair etc years (=when Bush, Blair etc was leader)

The rich did very nicely during the Thatcher years.

■ phrases

▪ in recent years

The number of cases has risen dramatically in recent years.

▪ in later years

In later years he regretted their argument.

▪ in years gone by (=in the past)

The old fort defended the island in years gone by.


► Do not say 'in ancient years' or 'in the ancient years' . Say in ancient times or long ago .

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.