# How Long is…?

We understand that it takes about a second to say “about a second” or that a minute is a relatively small amount of time consisting of sixty seconds. We are taught that a foot is 12 inches, but it is much harder to imagine that 5,280 of them would make up a mile. Yet there are other phrases we have heard that we may have even less of an idea of what they mean. Here are some examples.

A Generation

We have heard of “a once in a generation athlete” or “once in a generation solar phenomenon.” But how long is a generation? Should it be taken literally, as if how long it takes a complete generation to pass on? Actually, while not exact, a generation is usually understood to be about 20-30 years, the amount of time it takes one generation to replicate into another. A six generation family would include a living Great-Grandparent, Grandparent, Parent, Child, a Grandchild and Great-Grandchild.

A Season

If you think all of our seasons are exactly the same length, you are mistaken. In fact, they change in length slightly as to when they start and end each year. Summer is actually our longest season at 93 days and 15 hours, followed by Spring at 92 days and 19 hours. Fall is 89 days and 20 hours in length and winter is 89 days in length.

Score

A score is a period of 20 years. When Lincoln gave his Gettysburg address saying “Four score and seven years ago” he meant 87 years ago.

Fortnight

Before being associated with a video game, a fortnight was a definition of a period of time meaning two weeks. “I’ll be back in a fortnight” meant I will see you in two weeks. Fortnite, the game, uses a slightly different spelling.