Share this entry

Share this page

six

Syllabification: six
Pronunciation: /siks
 
/

Definition of six in English:

cardinal number

1Equivalent to the product of two and three; one more than five, or four less than ten; 6: she’s lived here six months six of the people arrested have been charged a six-week tour (Roman numeral: vi, VI)
More example sentences
  • Two months has given him what he would normally produce in five or six months.
  • Danton was a man of enormous physical stature standing over six feet four inches tall.
  • The missing man is described as six feet four inches tall and with an athletic build.
1.1A group or unit of six people or things.
Synonyms
sextet, sextuplets
technical hexad
1.2Six years old: a child of six
More example sentences
  • Silvi started playing badminton at the age of six when she accompanied her father to his training session.
  • In France, tax relief on childcare exists for children up to the age of six.
  • At the age of six, I used to run the few hundred yards from the top of Cartron Hill down to her house for my weekly lesson.
1.3Six o’clock: it’s half past six
More example sentences
  • It was a little after six o'clock in the evening when I woke from my nap.
  • We were all taught never to make a call before six o'clock in the evening.
  • We train in the morning at six o'clock, every morning in the camp at home and here as well.
1.4A size of garment or other merchandise denoted by six.
Example sentences
  • They were a size four and I was a size six and let me tell you that summer was the longest of my life.
  • Trust me, my sister is a beautiful girl and a size six or even eight is not overweight by any stretch.
  • Every once in awhile she liked to remind me of how I hate my size and how she loves her size six self.
1.5A playing card or domino with six pips.
Example sentences
  • For example an attacker might begin by playing two sixes, rather than playing one six, waiting for it to be beaten or picked up, and then producing the other six.
  • The game uses a double six domino set, but other sets can also be used when you have more players.
  • Before play begins, the players look at their cards and if they have any sixes, they give them to the player who has that suit as trumps.

Origin

Old English siex, six, syx, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zes and German sechs, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin sex and Greek hex.

More
  • The number six is Old English, but comes from the same ancient root as Latin sex and Greek hexa ‘six’. These gave us sextet (mid 19th century), sextuple (mid 16th century), hexagon (late 16th century), and similar words ( compare seven). In cricket a six is a hit that sends the ball clear over to the boundary without first striking the ground, scoring six runs. The ball needs to be struck hard to go that far, and this is the image behind the expression to knock for six, ‘to utterly surprise or overcome’, recorded from the beginning of the 20th century. A form of the phrase also occurs as to hit for six, which tends to have the slightly different meaning of ‘to affect very severely’. The origins of at sixes and sevens, ‘in a state of total confusion and disarray’, lie in gambling with dice. The phrase first occurs in Geoffrey Chaucer's poem Troilus and Criseyde, in the version to set on six and seven. It is most likely that the phrase was an alteration of the Old French words for five and six, cinque and sice, these being the highest numbers on a dice. The ‘inflation’ of the numbers probably came about either because people who did not know French misheard the words, or as a jokey exaggeration. The idea was that betting on the possibility of these two numbers coming up was the height of recklessness, and could result in your whole world falling apart. A man's six-pack is his toned midriff—the abdominal muscle is crossed by three bands of fibre which look like a set of six separate muscles if the person is slim and fit. The original six-pack is associated more with couch-potatoes, as it is a pack of six cans of beer held together with a plastic fastener.

Phrases

at sixes and sevens

1
In a state of total confusion or disarray.
Example sentences
  • ‘Harold’ is the story of an adolescent young man who is at sixes and sevens with practically everything.
  • Without them we were at sixes and sevens and chasing the game.
  • I'm at sixes and sevens on the issue of who is really at fault here.

knock (or hit) someone for six

2
British informal Utterly surprise or overcome someone.
[alluding to the highest-scoring hit in cricket]
Example sentences
  • I am very angry if they put a ban on my business, it will knock me for six.
  • The sexual innuendo is so utterly out of left field that it knocks you for six.
  • I take each day as it comes but it knocks you for six.

six feet under

3
informal Dead and buried.
Example sentences
  • Now, personally, I thought we had covered, bashed over the head, and buried this subject six feet under, but apparently not.
  • In an hour or so, he's going to be buried six feet under forever.
  • I swear if looks could kill Jane would be six feet under and rolling in her grave.

six of one and half a dozen of the other

4
(British six and two threes) Used to convey that there is little real difference between two alternatives.
Example sentences
  • I made numerous trips to the school where I had to pre-book an appointment with the head only to be told it had been dealt with or that it was six of one and half a dozen of the other.
  • When we viewed their offer it was six of one and half a dozen of the other.
  • The solicitor went on: ‘In many ways it was six of one and half a dozen of the other.’

Words that rhyme with six

admix, affix, commix, fix, Hicks, intermix, MI6, mix, nix, Nyx, pix, Pnyx, prix fixe, pyx, Ricks, Styx, transfix, Wicks

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

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

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day terpsichorean
Pronunciation: ˌtəːpsɪkəˈriːən
adjective
relating to dancing