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ninety

[nahyn-tee] /ˈnaɪn ti/
noun, plural nineties.
1.
a cardinal number, ten times nine.
2.
a symbol for this number, as 90 or XC.
3.
a set of this many persons or things.
4.
nineties, the numbers, years, degrees, or the like, from 90 through 99, as in referring to numbered streets, indicating the years of a lifetime or of a century, or degrees of temperature:
His grandmother is in her nineties.
adjective
5.
amounting to 90 in number.
Origin of ninety
1000
before 1000; Middle English nineti, Old English nigontig. See nine, -ty1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for nineties
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Perhaps it was most clearly noticed after the deaths of Browning and Tennyson, in the late eighties and the early nineties.

    Among Famous Books John Kelman
  • In the nineties Frederick Sandys was one of its most familiar figures.

    Nights Elizabeth Robins Pennell
  • A good deal was in the way she'd been brought up—they weren't modern about the blisses of ignorance in the nineties.

    Young People's Pride Stephen Vincent Benet
  • The respect for the Sixties was an article of faith, a dogma of dogmas in the nineties.

    Nights Elizabeth Robins Pennell
  • All through the eighties and nineties this ecstatic campaign continued, always increasing in violence and effectiveness.

    A Book of Prefaces H. L. Mencken
British Dictionary definitions for nineties

ninety

/ˈnaɪntɪ/
noun (pl) -ties
1.
the cardinal number that is the product of ten and nine See also number (sense 1)
2.
a numeral, 90, XC, etc, representing this number
3.
something represented by, representing, or consisting of 90 units
determiner
4.
  1. amounting to ninety: ninety times out of a hundred
  2. (as pronoun): at least ninety are thought to be missing
Word Origin
Old English nigontig
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 nineties
n.

1857 as the years of someone's life between 90 and 99; 1848 as a decade of years in a given century; 1849 with reference to Fahrenheit temperature. See ninety.

Many still live who remember those days; if the old men cannot tell you the exact date, they will say: 'It were in the nineties;' (etc.) ["Chambers's Journal," Nov. 1, 1856]
In Britain, the naughty nineties was a popular name 1920s-30s for the 1890s, based on the notion of a relaxing of morality and mood in contrast to earlier Victorian times. In U.S., gay nineties in reference to the same decade is attested from 1927, and was the title of a regular nostalgia feature in "Life" magazine about that time.
The long, dreary blue-law Sunday afternoons were periods of the Nineties which no amount of rosy retrospect will ever be able to recall as gay, especially to a normal healthy boy to whom all activities were taboo except G. A. Henty and the bound volumes of Leslie's Weekly of the Civil War. [Life, Sept. 1, 1927]

ninety

n.

Old English nigontig, from nine + -tig "group of ten" (see -ty (1)). Cognate with Old Frisian niontich, Middle Dutch negentich, Dutch negentig, German neunzig.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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