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baker's dozen

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noun
  1. a group of 13; a dozen plus one: from the former practice among bakers and other tradespeople of giving 13 items to the dozen as a safeguard against penalties for short weights and measures.

Origin of baker's dozen

First recorded in 1590–1600
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for baker's dozen

baker's dozen

noun
  1. thirteen

Word Origin

C16: from the bakers' former practice of giving thirteen rolls where twelve were requested, to protect themselves against accusations of giving light weight
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

baker's dozen in Culture

baker's dozen

Thirteen; bakers once provided an extra roll with every dozen sold.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with baker's dozen

baker's dozen

Thirteen, as in The new bagel store always gives you a baker's dozen. The origins of this term are disputed. One theory is that in times when bread was sold by weight, bakers who short-weighted their customers were heavily fined, and for safety's sake they would sell thirteen loaves for the price of twelve. Another theory is that dealers purchasing bread from bakers were allowed by law to receive thirteen loaves for the price of twelve, the thirteenth representing their cut of profit. [Late 1500s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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