[duhz-uh n]

noun, plural doz·ens, (as after a numeral) doz·en.

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 dozen

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


[doh-zuh n]

verb (used with object) Scot.

to stun.

Origin of dozen

1325–75; Middle English (Scots); see doze1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for dozen


Examples from the Web for dozen

Contemporary Examples of dozen

Historical Examples of dozen

  • Half a dozen of Percival's friends sat at the table with them from time to time.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • We found that about a dozen natives had been to the springs while we were away.

  • For good measure a dozen followers of Gaumata had been added.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • 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



(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

noun plural dozens or dozen

by the dozen in large quantities
talk nineteen to the dozen to talk without stopping
See also dozens
Derived Formsdozenth, adjective

Word Origin for dozen

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

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

Idioms and Phrases with dozen


see baker's dozen; by the dozen; daily dozen; dime a dozen; six of one, half dozen of the other.

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