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dozen1

[duhz-uh n]
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noun, plural doz·ens, (as after a numeral) doz·en.
  1. a group of 12.
  2. 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).
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adjective
  1. twelve.
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Origin of dozen1

1250–1300; Middle English dozeine < Old French do(u)zaine, equivalent to do(u)ze (< Latin duodecim) + -aine (< Latin -āna) -an

dozen2

[doh-zuh n]
verb (used with object) Scot.
  1. to stun.
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Origin of dozen2

1325–75; Middle English (Scots); see doze1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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.

  • In the living-room they found Louise Sampson and half a dozen girls.


British Dictionary definitions for dozen

dozen

determiner
  1. (preceded by a or a numeral)
    1. twelve or a group of twelvea 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
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noun plural dozens or dozen
  1. by the dozen in large quantities
  2. See baker's dozen
  3. talk nineteen to the dozen to talk without stopping
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See also dozens
Derived Formsdozenth, 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

Word Origin and History for dozen

n.

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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with dozen

dozen

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