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[duhz-uh n] /ˈdʌz ən/
noun, plural dozens (as after a numeral) dozen.
a group of 12.
the dozens, Slang. a ritualized game typically engaged in by two persons each of whom attempts to outdo the other in insults directed against members of the other's family (usually used in the phrase play the dozens).
Origin of dozen1
1250-1300; Middle English dozeine < Old French do(u)zaine, equivalent to do(u)ze (< Latin duodecim) + -aine (< Latin -āna) -an


[doh-zuh n] /ˈdoʊ zən/
verb (used with object), Scot.
to stun.
1325-75; Middle English (Scots); see doze1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dozen
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Half a dozen of Percival's friends sat at the table with them from time to time.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • For good measure a dozen followers of Gaumata had been added.

    Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon
  • We found that about a dozen natives had been to the springs while we were away.

  • But mostly they hunt for this Andrew Lanning a dozen at a time.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • In the living-room they found Louise Sampson and half a dozen girls.

British Dictionary definitions for dozen


preceded by a or a numeral
  1. twelve or a group of twelve: a dozen eggs, two dozen oranges
  2. (as pronoun; functioning as sing or plural): give me a dozen, there are at least a dozen who haven't arrived yet
noun (pl) dozens, dozen
by the dozen, in large quantities
talk nineteen to the dozen, to talk without stopping
See also dozens
Derived Forms
dozenth, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French douzaine, from douze twelve, from Latin duodecim, from duo two + decem ten
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
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Word Origin and History for dozen

c.1300, from Old French dozaine "a dozen," from doze (12c.) "twelve," from Latin duodecim "twelve," from duo "two" + decem "ten" (see ten).

The Old French fem. suffix -aine is characteristically added to cardinals to form collectives in a precise sense ("exactly 12," not "about 12"). The dozens "invective contest" (1928) originated in slave culture, the custom probably African, the word probably from bulldoze (q.v.) in its original sense of "a whipping, a thrashing."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for dozen


Related Terms

a dime a dozen

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with dozen
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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