Definition of ten in English:

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Pronunciation: /ten/

cardinal number

1Equivalent to the product of five and two; one more than nine; 10: the last ten years the house comfortably sleeps ten a ten-foot shrub (Roman numeral: x, X)
More example sentences
  • She always sleeps nine or ten hours the night before the race.
  • The food store had enough food in it to comfortably feed the five of them for ten years.
  • She can live like this another five or ten years.
1.1A group or unit of ten people or things: count in tens
More example sentences
  • Police chiefs said closing the unit would save taxpayers tens of thousands of pounds.
  • The Romans represented units, tens, hundreds, and thousands as separate items in their numbers.
  • If you apply that cost to tens of thousands of devices, you can see the impact.
Technical  decad;
Music  decuplet
rare tensome
1.2Ten years old: the boy was no more than ten
More example sentences
  • They would go canoeing at a time when the children were all under the age of ten.
  • Members organised a fancy dress Hallowe'en party for children under ten years of age in the community centre.
  • The riders are all ages, some maybe under ten years of age.
1.3Ten o’clock: at about ten at night, I got a call
More example sentences
  • She works from eight o'clock in the morning to ten o'clock at night, six days a week.
  • The party started in the afternoon and continued until ten o'clock the next morning.
  • It was ten o'clock at night, but there wasn't much chance of a rest.
1.4A size of garment or other merchandise denoted by ten.
Example sentences
  • I used to be very pretty and could fit into anything that was a size ten.
  • I was attractive, a size ten and got a lot of attention.
  • I like to use a size twelve hook, though Lee prefers a size ten.
1.5A ten-dollar bill: he took the money in tens
More example sentences
  • She could tell exactly how much of that thick stack of cash was of ones, fives, tens, and hundred-dollar bills.
  • There were two one dollar bills, one five dollar bill, and two tens - plus three dollars in change.
  • I'll use one of my tens and combine our money to buy it for you!
1.6A playing card with ten pips.
Example sentences
  • The aces, tens and face cards have point values associated with them.
  • The kings of diamonds are the highest trumps instead of the tens of hearts.
  • If any of these hand cards are tens or face cards, players can discard some or all of those cards.
1.7 (a ten) Used to indicate that someone has done something well; the highest mark on a scale of one to ten: I would have to give them a ten for all the work they did
More example sentences
  • They run a page rank system where you are marked out of ten.
  • It's very difficult to get a ten.
  • I gave him a ten, but made it clear that nine points were out of pity.



be ten a penny

see penny.

ten to one

Very probably: ten to one you’ll never find out who did this
More example sentences
  • Odds are ten to one that she will be an outcast at the next meeting.
  • Ten to one, Henry will bribe them.
  • Ten to one you've had to go to the dictionary to find out what that means.


Old English tēn, tīen, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch tien and German zehn, from an Indo-European root shared by Sanskrit daśa, Greek deka, and Latin decem.

  • The number ten goes back to an ancient root shared by Latin decem, the source of decimal (early 17th century) and similar words. The rules of conduct given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai, according to the biblical book of Exodus, have been known in English as the Ten Commandments since the Middle Ages. The common practice in schools of setting tests with ten questions has led to ten out of ten coming to mean ‘completely right, perfect’.

Words that rhyme with ten

Adrienne, again, amen, Ardennes, Behn, Ben, Benn, Bren, cayenne, Cévennes, Dairen, den, en, fen, gen, glen, Glenn, Guyenne, Gwen, hen, julienne, Karen, ken, Len, Loren, men, Nene, Ogaden, paren, pen, Penn, Phnom Penh, Rennes, Shenzhen, Sun Yat-sen, then, Tlemcen, when, wren, yen, zazen, Zen

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ten

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