[twen-tee, twuhn-]
noun, plural twen·ties.
  1. a cardinal number, 10 times 2.
  2. a symbol for this number, as 20 or XX.
  3. a set of this many persons or things.
  4. Informal. a twenty-dollar bill: Can you give me two tens for a twenty?
  5. twenties, the numbers, years, degrees, or the like, from 20 through 29, as in referring to numbered streets, indicating the years of a lifetime or of a century, or referring to degrees of temperature: He lives in the West Twenties. She's in her early twenties. The temperature must be in the high twenties today.
  1. amounting to 20 in number.

Origin of twenty

before 900; Middle English; Old English twēntig; cognate with Old Frisian tw(e)intich, Old High German zweinzug (German zwanzig), Gothic twai tigjus two tens Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Contemporary Examples of twenty

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British Dictionary definitions for twenty


noun plural -ties
  1. the cardinal number that is the product of ten and two; a scoreSee also number (def. 1)
  2. a numeral, 20, XX, etc, representing this number
  3. something representing, represented by, or consisting of 20 units
    1. amounting to twentytwenty questions
    2. (as pronoun)to order twenty
Related formsRelated adjectives: vicenary, vigesimalRelated prefix: icosa-

Word Origin for twenty

Old English twēntig; related to Old High German zweinzug, German zwanzig
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 twenty

Old English twentig "group of twenty," from twegen "two" (see two) + -tig "group of ten" (see -ty (1)). Cognate with Old Frisian twintich, Dutch twintig, Old High German zweinzug, German zwanzig. Gothic twai tigjus is even more transparent: literally "two tens."

The card game twenty-one (1790) is from French vingt-et-un (1781). Twenty-twenty hindsight is first recorded 1962, a figurative use of the Snellen fraction for normal visual acuity, expressed in feet. The guessing game of twenty questions is recorded from 1786. The Twentieth Century Limited was an express train from New York to Chicago 1902-1967.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper