noun, plural eight·ies.

a cardinal number, ten times eight.
a symbol for this number, as 80 or LXXX.
a set of this many persons or things.
eighties, the numbers, years, degrees, or the like, from 80 through 89, as in referring to numbered streets, indicating the years of a lifetime or of a century, or degrees of temperature.


amounting to 80 in number.

Origin of eighty

before 850; Middle English eighteti, Old English eahtatig. See eight, -ty1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for eighties

Contemporary Examples of eighties

Historical Examples of eighties

  • The epigram, with its faint whiff of the eighties, meant nothing.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • I first met him one Fourth of July afternoon in the middle eighties.

    Blazed Trail Stories

    Stewart Edward White

  • These two belong to the group known as "the Men of the Eighties."

    Maxim Gorki

    Hans Ostwald

  • It broke down the strength of Mr. Gladstone's Government in the eighties.

    Home Rule

    Harold Spender

  • He had time to go over to the precinct station in the West Eighties first.

    Out Like a Light

    Gordon Randall Garrett

British Dictionary definitions for eighties


noun plural -ies

the cardinal number that is the product of ten and eightSee also number (def. 1)
a numeral, 80, LXXX, etc, representing this number
(plural) the numbers 80–89, esp a person's age or the year of a particular century
the amount or quantity that is eight times as big as ten
something represented by, representing, or consisting of 80 units


  1. amounting to eightyeighty pages of nonsense
  2. (as pronoun)eighty are expected

Word Origin for eighty

Old English eahtatig; related to Old Frisian achtig, Old High German ahtozug
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 eighties

1827 as the years of someone's life between ages 80 and 89; 1833 as the ninth decade of years in a given century; 1854 with reference to Fahrenheit temperature. See eighty.



eigteti (late 13c.), from eight + -ty (1). Replacing Old English hundeahtatig, with hund- "ten." Related: Eightieth.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper