The Enigma of Fortnight: Understanding Why 14 Days is Called a Week

If you’re like most people, you probably think of "fortnight" as a word that’s synonymous with "two weeks." But did you know that there’s actually a bit more to the term than meets the eye? In this article, we’ll delve into the history and etymology of the word "fortnight," exploring its fascinating origins and meanings.

First things first: what exactly is a fortnight? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it’s a period of 14 days. But where did this number come from? The answer lies in the Middle Ages, when weeks were traditionally divided into two periods: "half-weeks" and "full weeks." Half-weeks consisted of three or four days each, while full weeks consisted of seven days.

Over time, the half-week became more commonly referred to as a "fortnight," because it was actually half of a week (two half-weeks). And so, the term "fortnight" was born. But did you know that the word originally comes from Old French? The Old French word "fawt" means "half," and "nuit" means "night." So "fortnight" literally means "fourteen nights," which is a nod to the original meaning of the half-week.

But how do modern gamers fit into all this? Well, for one thing, many video games use "fortnight" as a shorthand way to refer to a two-week period. For example, if you see a game release schedule that lists a game coming out in "fortnight one," it means that the game will be released in 14 days.

But does this make sense? After all, if a fortnight is technically only half of a week, why would someone refer to two weeks as a fortnight? The answer lies in the fact that fortnight has become so commonly used to refer to any period of two weeks, regardless of its origins. In other words, the word "fortnight" has taken on a new meaning, and it’s up to us to adapt to it.

But why bother with all this history and etymology when we can just use "two weeks" instead? The truth is that there are many reasons why "fortnight" has persisted as a commonly used term. For one thing, it’s shorter and more convenient than saying "a period of 14 days." It also has a certain ring to it that makes it sound more formal and official.

Moreover, there’s something kind of charming about the fact that the word "fortnight" is so steeped in history and tradition. It’s like a little piece of the past that we can still use today, even if its original meaning has changed over time. And for gamers, who are often interested in exploring the origins and histories of the games they play, there’s something particularly satisfying about understanding the etymology of a term as commonplace as "fortnight."

So the next time you see someone refer to a two-week period as a "fortnight," don’t be surprised. Chances are, they’re simply following in the footsteps of countless others who have used the term for centuries, regardless of its true meaning. And if you’re a gamer looking to delve into the history and etymology of some of your favorite games, well, you might just find yourself on a fascinating journey through time and tradition.


Q: Is it correct to use "fortnight" as a synonym for "two weeks"?
A: Yes, but it’s important to understand that the word originally means "fourteen nights." It has taken on a new meaning over time, which is why it’s used as shorthand for any period of two weeks.

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