Word of the Day




1. a book published every year that tells you about the movements of the planets, the times of the tides, and the dates of important events

2. a book published every year that tells you about what happened in a particular subject or activity

Origin and usage

The word almanac was first used in English at the end of the 14th century. It came from French and Latin but its ultimate origin is obscure. The second meaning above was first recorded in the first half of the 19th century.


In the past, an annually published almanac was an invaluable resource for anyone who needed information about natural events such as the times of high and low tides and the rising and setting times of the sun and moon, as well rarer astronomical events such as eclipses. Almanacs also contained information about the weather, sowing and planting dates, the night sky and religious and civic festivals, as well as items of folklore, puzzles, advice and even horoscopes. Although online almanacs are now available, the printed almanac has not disappeared, and indeed has experienced something of a revival in recent years. While modern almanacs tend to focus mainly on statistical and factual data about the whole world, some authors have revived the traditional focus on the calendar and seasons, with seasonal recipes and features about changes in the natural world.


“Fools need Advice most, but wise Men only are the better for it.”
(Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack)

Related words

almanac, atlas, compendium, dictionary, thesaurus

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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