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Why Is 2020 Called a Leap Year?

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Now, it's time for Words and Their Stories -- our weekly program about common, everyday expressions in American English.

Today we are talking about the somewhat unusual day of February 29. It comes up on the calendar only every four years.

A year with a February 29 might be good news if you are paid by the day or the week.

But it might be bad news if you were born on a February 29. You have to wait three years in between birthdays!

In any case, American English has a term for the unusual situation. February 29 is called a leap day. And the entire 12 month period with a February 29 in it is called a leap year. This year, 2020, is such a year.

As a verb, the word “leap” means to jump, or to move quickly. “Leap” can also be a noun, meaning a jump, or a sudden move.

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