Definition of twelve in English:


Syllabification: twelve
Pronunciation: /twelv


  • 1Equivalent to the product of three and four; two more than ten; 12: he walked twelve miles there are just twelve of us in all a twelve-string guitar (Roman numeral: xii, XII)
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    • I've walked twelve miles today, and most of it on roads - busy and congested - and my feet hurt from the heavy pack and the asphalt.
    • She stopped to rest twice but covered the entire twelve miles on foot.
    • On the ground floor the books must go twelve feet up the wall, and you can't even read the titles of the ones on the top shelf without a ladder.
  • 1.1A group or unit of twelve people or things.
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    • Mincepies were originally made in twelves and should be offered by a friend-they go with anything, sherry, mulled wine, tea or coffee and can be eaten at any time of day.
    • Charles really nailed it when he sang ‘Ribbon In the Sky’, a Stevie Wonder ballad, which propelled him to the final twelve.
    • And he sat down and called the twelve; and he said to them, ‘If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.’
  • 1.2Twelve years old: a small blond girl of about twelve
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    • Around 8 a.m., the oldest of his three offspring, all girls aged ten through twelve, would load up and head for Castries.
    • Youth theatre for boys and girls aged eight to twelve years is held in Rathdowney Church of Ireland Hall on Saturdays from 2 to 4pm.
    • Padma draped her first sari at the age of twelve, the age at which girls traditionally began to wear saris when they, as she politely puts it, matured.
  • 1.3Twelve o’clock: it’s half past twelve
    More example sentences
    • All this occurred between twelve and one o'clock this morning.
    • Byrne's World of Wonder, on the Cork Road, Waterford will be open at midnight on Friday and will commence selling the book at one second past twelve!
    • Unfortunately, those three came back at five past twelve.
  • 1.4A size of garment or other merchandise denoted by twelve.
    More example sentences
    • It was Alexz that would never fit in mom's clothes, being the size twelve that she is.
    • Who wants to tell someone she's really a size twelve, anyway.
    • Walking was a bore and I really hated exercise so it was a surprise that I was a size twelve, if you saw the amount I could eat.
  • 1.5 (the Twelve) The twelve Apostles.


Old English twelf(e), from the base of two + a second element (probably expressing the sense 'left over'); of Germanic origin and related to Dutch twaalf and German zwölf. Compare with eleven.

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a small amount; a little