Italian Word of the Day: Anno bisestile (leap year)

The Italian word for leap year is anno bisestile, which should be easy to remember if you are already familiar with the term bissextile year, a synonym for leap year.

/àn·no bi·ṣe·stì·le/ – [ˈanno bizesˈtile]
anno bisestile

The word bisestile is derived from the Latin term “bissextilis (annus)” or “bissextilis (annus),” meaning ‘the year of the bissextus,’ which itself is composed of “bis” for ‘twice’ and “sextus” for ‘sixth.’

A leap year adds an extra day to a calendar year to keep it in sync with the astronomical or seasonal year. This ensures that calendars, with a fixed number of days per year, don’t drift over time compared to events like seasons.

In the calendario gregoriano (Gregorian calendar), a leap year has 366 days, occurring every four years, except for years divisible by 100 but not by 400. The extra day is added to febbraio (February), making it 29 days instead of 28.

29 february calendar

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