amounting to six in number.


    at sixes and sevens,
    1. in disorder or confusion.
    2. in disagreement or dispute.

Origin of six

before 900; Middle English six, sex, Old English siex, syx, seox, sex; cognate with Dutch zes, Low German ses, German sechs, Old Norse sex, Gothic saihs, Latin sex, Greek héx, Sanskrit ṣaṣ Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for six

Contemporary Examples of six

Historical Examples of six

  • In ten minutes the fund had reached over six hundred dollars.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • He's stolen five or six hundred dollars in gold from old Paul Nichols.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • "Six hundred and thirty-five dollars," answered Robert, producing it.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • And six weeks after that I had things in shape so't I was able to leave.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • De Lord had been with them in six troubles, and he would not desert them in de seventh.

British Dictionary definitions for six



the cardinal number that is the sum of five and oneSee also number (def. 1)
a numeral, 6, VI, etc, representing this number
something representing, represented by, or consisting of six units, such as a playing card with six symbols on it
Also called: six o'clock six hours after noon or midnight
Also called: sixer cricket
  1. a stroke in which the ball crosses the boundary without bouncing
  2. the six runs scored for such a stroke
a division of a Brownie Guide or Cub Scout pack
at sixes and sevens
  1. in disagreement
  2. in a state of confusion
knock someone for six informal to upset or overwhelm someone completely; stun
six of one and half a dozen of the other or six and two threes a situation in which the alternatives are considered equivalent


  1. amounting to sixsix nations
  2. (as pronoun)set the table for six
Related formsRelated prefixes: hexa-, sex-

Word Origin for six

Old English siex; related to Old Norse sex, Gothic saihs, Old High German sehs, Latin sex, Greek hex, Sanskrit sastha



Les Six (le) a group of six young composers in France, who from about 1916 formed a temporary association as a result of interest in neoclassicism and in the music of Satie and the poetry of Cocteau. Its members were Darius Milhaud, Arthur Honegger, Francis Poulenc, Georges Auric, Louis Durey, and Germaine Tailleferre
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 six

Old English siex, six, sex, from Proto-Germanic *sekhs (cf. Old Saxon and Danish seks, Old Norse, Swedish, and Old Frisian sex, Middle Dutch sesse, Dutch zes, Old High German sehs, German sechs, Gothic saihs), from PIE *s(w)eks (cf. Sanskrit sas, Avestan kshvash, Persian shash, Greek hex, Latin sex, Old Church Slavonic sesti, Polish szesc, Russian shesti, Lithuanian szeszi, Old Irish se, Welsh chwech).

Six-shooter, usually a revolver with six chambers, is first attested 1844; six-pack of beverage containers is from 1952, of abdominal muscles by 1995. Six of one and half-a-dozen of the other "little difference" is recorded from 1833. Six-figure in reference to hundreds of thousands (of dollars, etc.) is from 1840. Six feet under "dead" is from 1942.

Phrase at sixes and sevens originally was "hazarding all one's chances," first in Chaucer, perhaps from dicing (the original form was on six and seven); it could be a corruption of on cinque and sice, using the French names (which were common in Middle English) for the highest numbers on the dice. Meaning "at odds, in disagreement or confusion" is from 1785, perhaps via a notion of "left unsettled."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with six


In addition to the idioms beginning with six

  • six feet under
  • six of one, half a dozen of the other

also see:

  • at sixes and sevens
  • deep six
  • Joe six-pack
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.