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[ten-er] /ˈtɛn ər/
noun, Informal.
a 10-dollar bill.
British. a 10-pound note.
Origin of tenner
First recorded in 1840-50; ten + -er1


[ten] /tɛn/
a cardinal number, nine plus one.
a symbol for this number, as 10 or X.
a set of this many persons or things.
a playing card with ten pips.
Informal. a ten-dollar bill:
She had two tens and a five in her purse.
Also called ten's place. Mathematics.
  1. (in a mixed number) the position of the second digit to the left of the decimal point.
  2. (in a whole number) the position of the second digit from the right.
amounting to ten in number.
take ten, Informal. to rest from what one is doing, especially for ten minutes.
before 900; Middle English ten(e), tenn(e), Old English tēn(e), tīen(e); cognate with Dutch tien, German zehn, Old Norse tīu, Gothic taihun, Latin decem, Greek déka, Sanskrit daśa Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for tenner
Historical Examples
  • Then I get home about three; there's a big row, but I get a tenner for the job.'

    Australia Revenged Boomerang
  • Before the summer I come again and say, “Give me 49another tenner, and I'll be obliged.”

    The Power of Darkness Leo Tolstoy
  • She was excited no doubt by thoughts of the race, and of the 'tenner' he was going to put on for her.

    The Dark Flower John Galsworthy
  • So that if a chestnut was a fiver, and it beat a tenner, it became at one leap a fifteener.

    Dr. Jolliffe's Boys Lewis Hough
  • Sir Charles, please put me a tenner each way on the favourite.

  • Here,” he said, “do you feel like giving a tenner for a whisky and soda?

    Jacob's Ladder

    E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • You've a lot of science, we all know, but I'll back Lance for a tenner.

    Nevermore Rolf Boldrewood
  • There's a tenner coming your way if he doesn't forget about it.

    The Haunted Pajamas Francis Perry Elliott
  • Let's see—tenner's Agency in Philly is a good place to start.

    Martyr Alan Edward Nourse
  • Its your way of attempting to get out of paying the tenner you promised.

British Dictionary definitions for tenner


noun (informal)
  1. a ten-pound note
  2. the sum of ten pounds
(US) a ten-dollar bill


the cardinal number that is the sum of nine and one. It is the base of the decimal number system and the base of the common logarithm See also number (sense 1)
a numeral, 10, X, etc, representing this number
something representing, represented by, or consisting of ten units, such as a playing card with ten symbols on it
Also called ten o'clock. ten hours after noon or midnight
  1. amounting to ten: ten tigers
  2. (as pronoun): to sell only ten
adjective decimal prefixes deca- deci-
Word Origin
Old English tēn; related to Old Saxon tehan, Old High German zehan, Gothic taihun, Latin decem, Greek deka, Sanskrit dasa
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 tenner



Old English ten (Mercian), tien (West Saxon), from Proto-Germanic *tekhan (cf. Old Saxon tehan, Old Norse tiu, Danish ti, Old Frisian tian, Old Dutch ten, Dutch tien, Old High German zehan, German zehn, Gothic taihun "ten").

The Germanic words are from PIE *dekm (cf. Sanskrit dasa, Avestan dasa, Armenian tasn, Greek deka, Latin decem, Old Church Slavonic deseti, Lithuanian desimt, Old Irish deich, Breton dek, Welsh deg, Albanian djetu "ten").

Tenner "ten-pound note" is slang first recorded 1861; as "ten-dollar bill," 1887 (ten-spot in this sense dates from 1848). The ten-foot pole that you wouldn't touch something with (1909) was originally a 40-foot pole; the idea is the same as the advice to use a long spoon when you dine with the devil. Ten-four "I understand, message received," is attested in popular jargon from 1962, from use in CB and police radio 10-code (in use in U.S. by 1950).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tenner in Medicine

TEN abbr.
toxic epidermal necrolysis

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for tenner



  1. A ten-dollar bill: spent the tenner on Jersey applejack (1887+)
  2. A ten-year prison sentence (1866+ Prison)


Related Terms

five-and-ten, hang ten

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