1. Any of various calendrical units based on the time the earth takes to revolve once around the sun, especially:
a. In the Gregorian calendar, a period beginning on January 1 and ending on December 31, consisting of 365 or 366 days in 12 months. Also called calendar year.
b. A period of 365 or 366 days used as the basis for another calendar such as the Julian calendar.
c. A period of 12 or 13 lunar months in a lunisolar calendar such as the Jewish calendar.
d. A period of 12 lunar months in a lunar calendar such as the Islamic calendar.
2. A sidereal year.
3. A solar year.
4. A period of about a year: We were married a year ago.
5. A period equal to the calendar year but beginning on a different date: a tax-reckoning year; a farming year.
6. An annually recurring period devoted to a special activity: the academic year.
7. years Age, especially old age: I'm feeling my years.
8. years An indefinitely long period of time: it's been years since we saw her.
[Middle English yere, from Old English gēar; see yēr- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus