Definition of forty in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfɔːti/

cardinal number (plural forties)

1The number equivalent to the product of four and ten; ten less than fifty; 40: York 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.
1.4A size of garment or other merchandise denoted by forty.
2 (the Forties) The central North Sea between Scotland and southern Norway, so called from its prevailing depth of forty fathoms or more. See also the roaring forties at roaring.
2.1 (Forties) A shipping forecast area covering the central North Sea east of Scotland.


forty winks

informal A short sleep, especially during the day: I could do with forty winks right now
More 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: /ˈfɔːtɪəθ/
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.


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

Line breaks: forty

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