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:
- Page 312 of an 1883 issue of the journal Notes and Queries
- Page 39 of an 1896 issue of The Yellow Book
- Page 266 of a 1920 issue of The Journal of English and Germanic Philology
- Page 409 of the 1905 book Catholic World
- The 2 March 1925 issue of Time Magazine
- 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:
- Use the incorrect but popular “month anniversary”
- Use the unpopular and new “monthiversary”
- Use the unpopular but established “mensiversay”
- Use the popular but new “monthsary”
Which one do you use? Let me know in the comments below.
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