• synonyms


noun, plural fif·ties.
  1. a cardinal number, ten times five.
  2. a symbol for this number, as 50 or L.
  3. a set of this many persons or things.
  4. 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.
  5. Informal. a fifty-dollar bill: He had a fifty and two tens in his wallet.
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  1. amounting to 50 in number.
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Origin of fifty

before 900; Middle English; Old English fīftig. See five, -ty1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fifties

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I 'll take you two to one in fifties that I act the host here this day twelvemonth.

    Roland Cashel

    Charles James Lever

  • You are swept off by dozens at a time there—by fifties in a cave.

    Love and Lucy

    Maurice Henry Hewlett

  • In villages they can be counted by tens, in towns by fifties.

  • Up to the Christmas of that year he had kept the appearance of a man in his fifties.

    The Genius

    Margaret Horton Potter

  • She must now be somewhere in the fifties—let's see—fifty-three, I think.

    The Ideal

    Stanley Grauman Weinbaum

British Dictionary definitions for fifties


noun plural -ties
  1. the cardinal number that is the product of ten and five
  2. a numeral, 50, L, etc, representing this number
  3. something represented by, representing, or consisting of 50 units
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    1. amounting to fiftyfifty people
    2. (as pronoun)fifty should be sufficient
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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

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.

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper