noun Informal.

a 10-dollar bill.
British. a 10-pound note.

Origin of tenner

First recorded in 1840–50; ten + -er1




a cardinal number, nine plus one.
a symbol for this number, as 10 or X.
a set of this many persons or things.
a playing card with ten pips.
Informal. a ten-dollar bill: She had two tens and a five in her purse.
Also called ten's place. Mathematics.
  1. (in a mixed number) the position of the second digit to the left of the decimal point.
  2. (in a whole number) the position of the second digit from the right.


amounting to ten in number.

Origin of ten

before 900; Middle English ten(e), tenn(e), Old English tēn(e), tīen(e); cognate with Dutch tien, German zehn, Old Norse tīu, Gothic taihun, Latin decem, Greek déka, Sanskrit daśa
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tenner

Historical Examples of tenner

  • Then I get home about three; there's a big row, but I get a tenner for the job.'

  • Before the summer I come again and say, “Give me 49another tenner, and I'll be obliged.”

  • She was excited no doubt by thoughts of the race, and of the 'tenner' he was going to put on for her.

    The Dark Flower

    John Galsworthy

  • So that if a chestnut was a fiver, and it beat a tenner, it became at one leap a fifteener.

  • Sir Charles, please put me a tenner each way on the favourite.

British Dictionary definitions for tenner


noun informal

  1. a ten-pound note
  2. the sum of ten pounds
US a ten-dollar bill



the cardinal number that is the sum of nine and one. It is the base of the decimal number system and the base of the common logarithmSee also number (def. 1)
a numeral, 10, X, etc, representing this number
something representing, represented by, or consisting of ten units, such as a playing card with ten symbols on it
Also called: ten o'clock ten hours after noon or midnight


  1. amounting to tenten tigers
  2. (as pronoun)to sell only ten
Related formsRelated adjective: decimalRelated prefixes: deca-, deci-

Word Origin for ten

Old English tēn; related to Old Saxon tehan, Old High German zehan, Gothic taihun, Latin decem, Greek deka, Sanskrit dasa
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 tenner



Old English ten (Mercian), tien (West Saxon), from Proto-Germanic *tekhan (cf. Old Saxon tehan, Old Norse tiu, Danish ti, Old Frisian tian, Old Dutch ten, Dutch tien, Old High German zehan, German zehn, Gothic taihun "ten").

The Germanic words are from PIE *dekm (cf. Sanskrit dasa, Avestan dasa, Armenian tasn, Greek deka, Latin decem, Old Church Slavonic deseti, Lithuanian desimt, Old Irish deich, Breton dek, Welsh deg, Albanian djetu "ten").

Tenner "ten-pound note" is slang first recorded 1861; as "ten-dollar bill," 1887 (ten-spot in this sense dates from 1848). The ten-foot pole that you wouldn't touch something with (1909) was originally a 40-foot pole; the idea is the same as the advice to use a long spoon when you dine with the devil. Ten-four "I understand, message received," is attested in popular jargon from 1962, from use in CB and police radio 10-code (in use in U.S. by 1950).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for tenner



toxic epidermal necrolysis
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with tenner


see count to ten; not touch with a ten-foot pole.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.