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[fif-tee] /ˈfɪf ti/
noun, plural fifties.
a cardinal number, ten times five.
a symbol for this number, as 50 or L.
a set of this many persons or things.
fifties, the numbers, years, degrees, or the like, from 50 through 59, as in referring to numbered streets, indicating the years of a lifetime or of a century, or degrees of temperature:
She lives in the East Fifties. He's in his late fifties. It's going to be in the fifties again today.
Informal. a fifty-dollar bill:
He had a fifty and two tens in his wallet.
amounting to 50 in number.
Origin of fifty
before 900; Middle English; Old English fīftig. See five, -ty1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for fifties
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • II, Berlin, 1910, containing valuable material for the understanding of the transition period of the fifties and sixties.

  • The captains of fifties were responsible directly to the High Council.

    The Story of the Mormons William Alexander Linn
  • He was a man in his fifties then, and the night she showed him her star was more than thirty years gone by.

    A Certain Rich Man William Allen White
  • I have drawn it in three bills, a heighty and two fifties—hundred and heighty!

    The Queen's Scarlet George Manville Fenn
  • Quebec had more than half its population dependent on shipbuilding in the fifties and sixties.

    All Afloat William Wood
British Dictionary definitions for fifties


noun (pl) -ties
the cardinal number that is the product of ten and five
a numeral, 50, L, etc, representing this number
something represented by, representing, or consisting of 50 units
  1. amounting to fifty: fifty people
  2. (as pronoun): fifty should be sufficient
Word Origin
Old English fīftig
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 fifties

1826 as the years of someone's life between 50 and 59; 1853 as a decade of years in a given century. See fifty.



Old English fiftig, from fif "five" (see five) + -tig "group of ten" (see -ty (1)). Cf. Old Frisian fiftich, Old Norse fimm tigir, Dutch vijftig, Old High German fimfzug, German fünfzig, Gothic fimf tigjus. U.S. colloquial fifty-fifty "in an even division" is from 1913.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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