Semi-Monthly vs Bi-Weekly: What's the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on August 30, 2023

Do you need to know the difference between 'semi-monthly' vs. 'bi-weekly?' I can help!

Here is a quick overview:

  • 'Semi-monthly' is an adverb, adjective, and noun that means twice per month or a publication that occurs twice a month. 
  • 'Bi-weekly' is an adjective, adverb, and noun that means every other week or a publication printed every other week.  

There are many reasons that you should know exactly what people mean when they say 'semi-monthly' or 'bi-weekly.' So, keep reading this guide with definitions, examples, and sample sentences.

What's the Difference Between 'Semi-Monthly' vs. 'Bi-Weekly?'

Both terms are used to describe schedules of pay. Publications that occur twice per month and every other week also use the words 'semi-monthly' and 'bi-weekly,' respectively.  So, knowing what these terms mean is critical when you are budgeting or if you need to know how often a magazine or journal is published.

If you receive 'bi-weekly' pay, you receive an additional check two times per year during months that have five weeks.

An important thing to note about 'bi-weekly' is that it can also mean two times per week. So, when you use the term, you have to be sure to leave clues for your readers so they know what you mean.

Definition of 'Semi-Monthly': What Does 'Semi-Monthly' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, 'semi-monthly' is an adjective and adverb that means:

  • Occurring twice a month

It can also mean:

  • Twice per month

It can also be a noun that means:

  • A publication that is published twice a month

Synonyms and Similar Words to 'Semi-Monthly'

  • Monthly
  • Weekly
  • Quarterly
  • Bimonthly
  • Biweekly
  • Triweekly
  • Yearly
  • Recurrent
  • Regular
  • Serial
  • Newspaper
  • Periodical
  • Journal
  • Magazine
  • Bulletin
  • Zine
  • Edition
  • Book
  • Digest

Definition of 'Bi-Weekly': What Does 'Bi-Weekly' Mean?

The same resource defines the adjective and adverb, 'bi-weekly' as:

  • Occurring every two weeks

It can also mean:

  • Twice a week

'Bi-weekly' can also be a noun that means:

  • A publication printed every two weeks

Synonyms of 'Bi-Weekly'

  • Annual
  • Weekly
  • Daily
  • Monthly
  • Periodical
  • Journal
  • Magazine
  • Edition
  • Report
  • Extra
  • Gazette
  • Tabloid
  • Extra
  • Sheet
  • Newsletter
  • Pictorial
  • Digest

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Semi-Monthly' vs. 'Bi-Weekly'

You learned the difference between 'semi-monthly' vs. 'bi-weekly.' So, let's learn how to pronounce these two terms.

Learning proper pronunciation helps to give you the confidence to use a term.

So, here is a pronunciation guide you can reference.

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'semi-monthly':


  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'bi-weekly':


When and How to Use 'Semi-Monthly' vs. 'Bi-Weekly'

Here are some tips for using 'semi-monthly' and 'bi-weekly.'

  • Use 'semi-monthly' when referring to a paycheck received twice a month.

For example, you could say:

The last company I worked for paid us bi-weekly every other Friday, but now I am paid semi-monthly on the 1st and 15th. 

  • Use 'semi-monthly' to refer to a publication released twice each month.

So, you could say:

Did you pick up the new edition of the semi-monthly? It has some great recipes and summer family fun ideas. 

  • Use 'bi-weekly' when talking about pay received every other week.

As an example, I might say:

I like receiving bi-weekly pay because I get an extra check every few months that I save for a rainy day. 

  • Use 'bi-weekly' when discussing a publication, magazine, or journal printed every other week.

For example, you might hear someone say:

Pick up the Food and Flare bi-weekly on your way home, please. I want to see if they published the results from the coloring contest. 

Sample Sentences Using 'Semi-Monthly' vs. 'Bi-Weekly'

Finally, before you leave, read these sample sentences using 'semi-monthly' vs. 'bi-weekly.' They will help you remember the difference between these words and learn additional ways to use each.


  • My friends and I are thinking about starting a semi-monthly. It will contain stories about local people doing extraordinary things.
  • The semi-monthly report showed that the sales department spent $5,000 more than they sold.
  • Our manager told us the entire sales team needs to increase productivity or there will be consequences at the next semi-monthly meeting.
  • We were meeting weekly, but I think it would be better for everyone if we met semi-monthly instead.
  • We do not have any appointments available at the moment. So, check in with me semi-monthly to see if we have availability.


  • Our regional manager visits our office bi-weekly on Thursday or Friday.
  • If you receive bi-weekly pay, you should consider saving the additional checks you receive in months that have five weeks.
  • When you reach the end of your pregnancy, the doctor will likely ask you to start coming in bi-weekly so they can keep a close eye on you and your baby.
  • If you have any questions, you should ask the doctor at your bi-weekly appointment.
  • I did not order the magazine, but we have been receiving it bi-weekly for more than a year.


  • At our magazine club meeting, we discussed whether we should publish our journal semi-monthly or bi-weekly.
  • When you receive semi-monthly pay, you get more on each check. But you receive two additional checks each year if you have bi-weekly pay.
  • Would you rather receive semi-monthly or bi-weekly paychecks?

Final Review of 'Semi-Monthly' vs. 'Bi-Weekly'

Wow! You learned a lot about 'semi-monthly' vs. 'bi-weekly,' so here is a quick review of the difference:

  • 'Semi-monthly' is an adjective, adverb, and noun that means paid or published two times a month. 
  • 'Bi-weekly' is an adjective, adverb, and noun that means occurring every other week or occurring twice a week. 

After reading through this entire lesson, you should be able to remember the difference between these terms. However, if you ever get mixed up in the future, you can always come back to this lesson for a quick review.

You can also learn about many other commonly misused terms in the confusing words section here. Each guide contains a quick overview and a detailed description of the difference between the terms it covers, as well as definitions, pronunciations, grammar rules, and usage tips.

So, they are an excellent way to learn new words and improve your writing skills.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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