The term "date" has many different meanings, but in the context of time, the date refers to the calendar date. The Gregorian calendar is the standard calendar used around the world, but there are many others.
There are also numerous date formats used worldwide, but most systems include three parts: the day, month, and year. The year is usually counted relative to some specific starting point (called an epoch), the most common being the birth of Jesus. This is the epoch used for the Gregorian calendar.
Common date formats
Month/day/year (MDY) - This format is one of the most common formats used in the United States, along with the YMD format. It is a format that is used in some other parts of the world as well, but mostly in the US. Examples include:
- March 27th, 1996
Day/month/year (DMY) - This is the format used by the largest number of people around the world. Examples include:
- 17 April, 2020
Year/month/day (YMD) - This format is used in much of the world, more as a secondary rather than primary format. Examples include:
- 2001 May 16
The third format, YYYY-MM-DD is actually the international standard and is meant to ensure accuracy. Some countries have adopted this as the only official date format, though many countries around the world may unofficially use other formats.
Below is a color-coded map of the world showing which countries use which formats.
|Color||Format(s)||Total population (in millions)|
|Grey||MDY, YMD, DMY||140|