Share this entry

Share this page

dozen

Line breaks: dozen
Pronunciation: /ˈdʌz(ə)n
 
/

Definition of dozen in English:

noun

1 (plural same) A group or set of twelve: a dozen bottles of sherry
More example sentences
  • Eventually the claims were whittled down to around a dozen which had some credibility.
  • It's Friday evening and so there are a dozen of us trying to catch the barman's eye in the George.
  • The base of the trunk is pushed just four feet into the ground and secured with a dozen or more wooden wedges.
1.1 (dozens) informal A lot: she has dozens of admirers
More example sentences
  • Scores dead, hundreds wounded, dozens of television networks scrambling to find an angle.
  • Kodak decided to invest dozens of billions of US dollars globally last year to expand its business.
  • The 80 pages and dozens of questions gave plenty of food for thought.
2 (the dozens) An exchange of insults engaged in as a game or ritual among black Americans.
Example sentences
  • The two loudly play the dozens, insulting each other to the delight of neighbors.

Origin

Middle English: from Old French dozeine, based on Latin duodecim 'twelve'.

Phrases

by the dozen

1
In large quantities.
Example sentences
  • It's Vancouver, there are panhandlers by the dozen everywhere you look.
  • Elsewhere, live shrimp are sold by the dozen or individually, but the quantities tend to be roughly the same by any standard of sale.
  • But in bad years fires kill by the dozen and destroy houses by the thousand.

talk nineteen to the dozen

2
British Talk incessantly.
Example sentences
  • She talks nineteen to the dozen, amusingly, self - deprecatingly, practically, irreverently.
  • They were soon on board and talking nineteen to the dozen.
Synonyms
prattle, blather, blether, blither, babble (on), gabble, prate, drivel, rattle on/away, ramble, maunder, go on, run on, talk at length, talk incessantly, talk a lot, chatter, yap
informal jabber, blabber, yatter, jaw, gab, gas, chit-chat, yackety-yak
British informal rabbit, witter, waffle, natter, chunter, talk the hind legs off a donkey
North American informal run off at the mouth
Australian/New Zealand informal mag

Derivatives

dozenth

1
adjective
Example sentences
  • Once we'd finished up and I'd remarked for the dozenth time on the superb quality of the Victoria Sponge, we headed off on the second leg of our journey.
  • ‘I shouldn't have asked ‘Tanj muttered to herself for the dozenth time…
  • ‘That is not how you recruit help,’ he said to her, as though a parent repeating some instruction for the dozenth time.

Definition of dozen in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day vigesimal
Pronunciation: vɪˈdʒɛsɪm(ə)l
adjective
relating to or based on the number twenty