Definition of forty in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈfôrdē/

cardinal number (plural forties)

1The number equivalent to the product of four and ten; ten less than fifty; 40: Troy was only forty miles away forty were arrested there were about thirty or forty of them (Roman numeral: xl or XL)
More example sentences
  • They met men confined to prison for thirty, forty, or fifty years, no one knowing why they were there in the first place.
  • The latter is used as a frame in section four, where forty pros and cons of paper versus electronic products are reviewed.
  • Mr O'Neill said in the first three years of the operation of the anti-drugs scheme between forty and fifty players had been tested each year.
1.1 (forties) The numbers from forty to forty-nine, especially the years of a century or of a person’s life: Terry was in his early forties
More example sentences
  • Like most female professionals, women of my age in their forties and fifties dress conservatively.
  • He was described as being aged in his late forties or fifties, with short, straight, grey hair.
  • Five men, all aged in their thirties or forties, were arrested at the scene.
1.2Forty years old: a tall woman of about forty
More example sentences
  • Both feature works created since 2000 by artists who are predominantly under forty years of age.
  • What happens with friendships undertaken at the age of forty?
  • At the age of forty, calculations of long-term self-interest have largely prevailed over hormones.
1.3Forty miles an hour: they were doing about forty
More example sentences
  • Mac nodded, turning on the Jeep and pulling out of the driveway at forty miles per hour.
  • Something catches the driver's eye at forty miles per hour through the congested street.
  • None of us had a radar gun today, but I'm guessing Jimmy was topping out at forty miles per hour.


forty winks

informal A short sleep or nap, especially during the day.
Example sentences
  • I don't think I could sleep forty winks tonight.
  • But before you switch off your mobile, blissfully catch forty winks and let your voice mail pile up, remember that message retrieval costs Rs.1.50 per minute.
  • So it's back to passive browsing through some of my favourite blogs, excluding the Australian bloggers who, unlike me, are catching up on their forty winks.



Pronunciation: /ˈfôrdēəTH/
ordinal number
Example sentences
  • With the rail network in a parlous and overcrowded state and with a new round of cuts in the offing, it is apposite that 27 March is the fortieth anniversary of the infamous Beeching Report.
  • November 23rd is the fortieth anniversary of the transmission of the first ever episode of one of the BBC's most well-known shows, Doctor Who.
  • Western Care continues to be one of the longest established charities in Mayo and this coming year the Association will celebrate its fortieth anniversary.


Pronunciation: /-ˌfōld/
adjective& adverb
Example sentences
  • Over the last 15 years, occurrences of S. enteritidis food poisoning have increased fourfold in the United States and fortyfold in Europe.
  • The argument should also be put to Genesis Power, a State-owned enterprise whose 2003-04 rates bill has increased fortyfold.
  • The gap between the richest and poorest one-fifths of the world is now about onehundredfold, whereas 30 years ago it was about thirtyfold or fortyfold.


Old English fēowertig (see four, -ty2).

Words that rhyme with forty

haughty, naughty, pianoforte, rorty, shorty, sortie, sporty, UB40, warty

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: for·ty

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.