noun, plural for·ties.
- fortune hunter,
- forty hours,
- forty winks,
Origin of forty
Examples from the Web for forties
Clean-shaven and balding, Saleem is in his forties and walks with a limp.The Dangerous Drug-Funded Secret War Between Iran and Pakistan|Umar Farooq|December 29, 2014|DAILY BEAST
He is in his late forties; intelligent, people say, but stiff and restrained, an eternal bachelor.Adam Hochschild on Keeping Company With His Dying Father|Adam Hochschild|June 14, 2014|DAILY BEAST
“I can date someone who is 25 but also someone who is in her forties,” Yevin points out.High Manxiety: Thirtysomething Men Are The New Neurotic Singles|Hannah Seligson|May 4, 2014|DAILY BEAST
A mother in her forties wrote that she had long-standing problems which she was desperate not to transmit to her daughter.Are Britain’s Private Schools Breeding Grounds For Anorexia?|Emma Woolf|March 3, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Everywhere you look, women are easily having babies in their late 30s and early forties.
The linking-up of central with outlying London had hardly begun in the 'forties.Mr. Punch's History of Modern England, Vol. I (of 4).--1841-1857|Charles L. Graves
Mrs. Van Kirk was evidently, by at least twelve years, her husband's junior, and apparently not very far advanced in the forties.Tales From Two Hemispheres|Hjalmar Hjorth Boysen
A fine example of even scoring—three in the forties and two in the thirties.The Story of the "Britannia"|E. P. Statham
The hand that had been shaking him belonged to a giant blond fellow who might have been in his forties.Cancer World|Harry Warner
Sometime in the forties he hunted our own South Wold country.Records of Woodhall Spa and Neighbourhood|J. Conway Walter
noun plural -ties
- amounting to fortyforty thieves
- (as pronoun)there were forty in the herd
Word Origin for forty
1843 as the years of someone's life between 40 and 49; 1840 as a decade of years in a given century. See forty. Also a designation applied in various places and times to certain oligarchies, ruling classes, or governing bodies.
It is well known that society in the island [Guernsey] is, or perhaps we ought to say, for many years was, divided into two sets, called respectively the Sixties and the Forties, the former composed of the old families and those allied to them, the latter of families of newly-acquired wealth and position. ["The Dublin Review," October 1877]
Roaring Forties are rough parts of the ocean between 40 and 50 degrees latitude.
Old English feowertig, from feower "four" (see four) + tig "group of ten" (see -ty (1)). Cf. Old Saxon fiwartig, Old Frisian fiuwertich, Dutch veertig, Old High German fiorzug, German vierzig, Old Norse fjorir tigir, Gothic fidwor tigjus.
[T]he number 40 must have been used very frequently by Mesha's scribe as a round number. It is probably often used in that way in the Bible where it is remarkably frequent, esp. in reference to periods of days or years. ... How it came to be so used is not quite certain, but it may have originated, partly at any rate, in the idea that 40 years constituted a generation or the period at the end of which a man attains maturity, an idea common, it would seem, to the Greeks, the Israelites, and the Arabs. ["The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia," James Orr, ed., Chicago, 1915]
Forty winks "short sleep" is attested from 1821, In early use associated with, and perhaps coined by, eccentric English lifestyle reformer William Kitchiner M.D. (1775-1827).