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ninety

[nahyn-tee]
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noun, plural nine·ties.
  1. a cardinal number, ten times nine.
  2. a symbol for this number, as 90 or XC.
  3. a set of this many persons or things.
  4. nineties, the numbers, years, degrees, or the like, from 90 through 99, as in referring to numbered streets, indicating the years of a lifetime or of a century, or degrees of temperature: His grandmother is in her nineties.
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adjective
  1. amounting to 90 in number.
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Origin of ninety

before 1000; Middle English nineti, Old English nigontig. See nine, -ty1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for nineties

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I say, Rector, did you really know a Challenger in the 'nineties?

  • He checked the temperature, and found that it had risen into the high nineties.

  • He was humming a gay snatch from the lighter music of the 'nineties.

    Jill the Reckless

    P. G. (Pelham Grenville) Wodehouse

  • The respect for the Sixties was an article of faith, a dogma of dogmas in the Nineties.

    Nights

    Elizabeth Robins Pennell

  • In the early Nineties I had not a doubt that it could always be taken like that.

    Nights

    Elizabeth Robins Pennell


British Dictionary definitions for nineties

ninety

noun plural -ties
  1. the cardinal number that is the product of ten and nineSee also number (def. 1)
  2. a numeral, 90, XC, etc, representing this number
  3. something represented by, representing, or consisting of 90 units
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determiner
    1. amounting to ninetyninety times out of a hundred
    2. (as pronoun)at least ninety are thought to be missing
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Word Origin

Old English nigontig
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 nineties

n.

1857 as the years of someone's life between 90 and 99; 1848 as a decade of years in a given century; 1849 with reference to Fahrenheit temperature. See ninety.

Many still live who remember those days; if the old men cannot tell you the exact date, they will say: 'It were in the nineties;' (etc.) ["Chambers's Journal," Nov. 1, 1856]

In Britain, the naughty nineties was a popular name 1920s-30s for the 1890s, based on the notion of a relaxing of morality and mood in contrast to earlier Victorian times. In U.S., gay nineties in reference to the same decade is attested from 1927, and was the title of a regular nostalgia feature in "Life" magazine about that time.

The long, dreary blue-law Sunday afternoons were periods of the Nineties which no amount of rosy retrospect will ever be able to recall as gay, especially to a normal healthy boy to whom all activities were taboo except G. A. Henty and the bound volumes of Leslie's Weekly of the Civil War. [Life, Sept. 1, 1927]
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ninety

n.

Old English nigontig, from nine + -tig "group of ten" (see -ty (1)). Cognate with Old Frisian niontich, Middle Dutch negentich, Dutch negentig, German neunzig.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper