Entries linking to biannual
Nativized from 16c. Occasionally bin- before vowels; this form originated in French, not Latin, and might be partly based on or influenced by Latin bini "twofold" (see binary). In chemical terms, it denotes two parts or equivalents of the substance referred to. Cognate with twi- and di- (1).
This is reconstructed to be from Proto-Italic *atno- "year" (compare Oscan akno- "year, holiday, time of offering"), from PIE *at-no- "which goes," also "a year" (as "going around"), suffixed form of root *at- "to go" (source also of Sanskrit atati "goes, wanders," atamana- "to travel, wander," atya- "steed, runner"). The root also has Germanic derivatives meaning "a year," such as Gothic aþnam (dative plural) "year."
1620s, "lasting for two years;" 1750, "occurring every two years," from Latin biennium "two-year period," from bi- "two" (see bi-) + annus "year" (see annual (adj.)). The vowel change is "due to the Latin phonetic law according to which the unaccented and closed radical syllable of the second element of compounds, original -ă- becomes -ĕ-" [Klein]. The noun meaning "a biennial plant" (which requires two seasons of growth to produce flowers and fruit and dies the next) is attested by 1770. Related: Biennially.