I'm studying English vocabulary books, I find this word in each unit describing time words (days, weeks, months...).

There are 2 weeks in a fortnight.

Almost I haven't seen this word before in social websites, emails or movies. the only place I heard this word is in historical movies.

So, is it a outdated word or native speakers still use it?


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"Fortnight" is very much alive and well in British English.

I believe that many Americans regard it as a word out of history.

I suspect (though I don't know for sure) that other English speakers areas (eg Australia, New Zealand, South Africa) still use it.

Update: on GloWbE (the corpus of Global Web-based English, these are the figures:

  • UK: 2900
  • Australia: 1437
  • Ireland: 784
  • India: 661
  • New Zealand: 571
  • USA: 328
  • Sri Lanka: 207

(The other 13 areas it distinguishes are all below 200, including South Africa and Canada).

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    Yes, in the US it's somewhat obscure and unusual. People might understand it, but using it will immediately mark you as "not from around here." – stangdon Mar 7 '17 at 17:15
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    I'm not even sure how many of us Americans even know what it means. This is actually the crux of a Demetri Martin joke, "I like when good things happen to me, but I wait two weeks to tell anyone because I like to use the word 'fortnight.'" – Andrew Mar 7 '17 at 17:36
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    @Andrew - Yeah, that's why I said "might understand". Sadly, I am rarely disappointed when I underestimate what people are going to understand... – stangdon Mar 7 '17 at 17:53
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    Saw a TV show once where the company is going broke and having difficulty paying the employees. At one point one of the employees says to the boss, "We all promised that we would stay on for a fortnight, but we've decided to stay on indefinitely, because none of us is exactly sure how long a fortnight is." – Jay Mar 7 '17 at 18:02
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    I have never heard a speaker of AmE use the term fortnight unselfconsciously, as part of their normal working vocabulary, when speaking to other Americans. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 7 '17 at 20:46


is still often used in BrE, certainly more so than in AmE.

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