Love­birds and new­ly­weds are des­per­ate to cel­e­brate their first anniver­sary, but wait­ing an entire year to do so seems daunt­ing. As such, it has become com­mon prac­tice to com­mem­o­rate month­ly mile­stones as they wait for the clock to slow­ly tick by.

So their first month of the rela­tion­ship or mar­riage ends up becom­ing their “one month anniver­sary”, their sec­ond month becomes their “two month anniver­sary”, then their “three month anniver­sary”, “four month anniver­sary”, “five month anniver­sary”, “six month anniver­sary”, and, well, you get the pic­ture.

This is prob­lem­at­ic for a cou­ple of rea­sons.

1. Anniversary is for years, not months

The word “anniver­sary” refers to annu­al events, such as one’s birth­day. It’s a Latin-based word, deriv­ing from the two words: anni (mean­ing “year”‚ and vers (mean­ing “turned”). It lit­er­al­ly means “turned a year”. It specif­i­cal­ly refers to annu­al events.

Now, I sub­scribe to the view that Eng­lish is an evolv­ing lan­guage. I acknowl­edge that over time, “anniver­sary” may end up los­ing its annu­al-spe­cif­ic mean­ing and take on a more gen­er­al com­mem­o­ra­tion mean­ing. And at 33,500,000 results on Google, “month anniver­sary” is a pop­u­lar option. How­ev­er …

2. A word already exists for a month anniversary

So what’s the solu­tion? Well, you basi­cal­ly have three options.

When you tell some­one that a word already exists that refers to month anniver­sary, you might hear them say mon­thiver­sary. The prob­lem with this word is that is a rel­a­tive­ly new and obscure inven­tion. You can’t find it on Google Book’s NGram View­er, which means Google couldn’t find it in any book pub­lished pri­or to 2008. As well, there are only 75,000 search results for mon­thiver­sary.

The sec­ond option is far more estab­lished his­tor­i­cal­ly: men­siver­sary. Men­siver­sary is over 200 years old, with the old­est record­ed usage being in an 1805 let­ter writ­ten by Sir James Mack­in­tosh and found in the 1835 book Mem­oirs of the Life of the Right Hon­ourable Sir James Mack­in­tosh. It has also been found in sev­er­al oth­er works:

  1. Page 312 of an 1883 issue of the jour­nal Notes and Queries
  2. Page 39 of an 1896 issue of The Yel­low Book
  3. Page 266 of a 1920 issue of The Jour­nal of Eng­lish and Ger­man­ic Philol­o­gy
  4. Page 409 of the 1905 book Catholic World
  5. The 2 March 1925 issue of Time Mag­a­zine
  6. Sev­er­al nov­els of the late 19th and ear­ly 20th cen­turies

You can also find it in con­tem­po­rary usage. That said, it isn’t com­mon­ly known. While it has more search results than “mon­thiver­sary”, men­siver­sary still sees only 107,000 results. It also doesn’t appear in any major dic­tio­nar­ies. Which is prob­a­bly why “month anniver­sary” even exists.

The final option is month­sary. This is an intrigu­ing solu­tion to the prob­lem. Month­sary appears in no major dic­tio­nar­ies, just like men­siver­sary and mon­thiver­sary. Also, like mon­thiver­sary, it is a recent inven­tion, with no record­ed usage pri­or to 2008. How­ev­er, a Google search for month­sary returns near­ly 2,500,000 search results. Month­sary has 23 times more search results than the far more estab­lished men­siver­sary, mak­ing it a much more pop­u­lar con­tem­po­rary choice.

There you have it. If you need some­thing to describe your so-called month anniver­sary, you have four choic­es:

  1. Use the incor­rect but pop­u­lar “month anniver­sary”
  2. Use the unpop­u­lar and new “mon­thiver­sary”
  3. Use the unpop­u­lar but estab­lished “men­siver­say”
  4. Use the pop­u­lar but new “month­sary”

Which one do you use? Let me know in the com­ments below.

About Kim Siever

I am a copy­writer and copy­ed­i­tor. I blog on writ­ing tips most­ly, but I some­times throw in my thoughts about run­ning a small busi­ness.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter at @hotpepper.

Free monthlywriting &social media tips!

Free monthlywriting &social media tips!

Sign up to receive monthly writing and social media tips.

Thanks for signing up for our monthly writing tips!

Pin It on Pinterest