Definition of fifth in English:

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Pronunciation: /fi(f)TH/

ordinal number

1Constituting number five in a sequence; 5th: the fifth century bc her mother had just given birth to another child, her fifth the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter the fifth of November
More example sentences
  • They simply ran out of steam in the second half to slump to their fifth defeat out of five, a record that consigns them to the wooden spoon, their first wooden spoon in the competition since 2002.
  • The fifth day of a five day forecast is accurate 20% of the time and these guys are gonna tell me what the weather will be like a hundred years from now?
  • It was a subtle touch, one I didn't notice until the opening sequence of the fifth episode - and by then it was too late.
1.1 (a fifth/one fifth) Each of five equal parts into which something is or may be divided.
Example sentences
  • Because measures of skinfold thickness varied significantly by sex we divided the distribution into fifths for men and women and used these in the analyses.
  • Birth weight for gestational age, divided into fifths, showed an association with later marital status for men but not women.
  • We divided participants into fifths according to their intake of each type of fat.
1.2The fifth finisher or position in a race or competition: he finished fifth
More example sentences
  • He finished the race in fifth place having started from 16th position on the grid.
  • Her best this season in four races was a fifth place in Germany which left her in seventh place overall in the rankings.
  • At the Leinster Schools held in Dublin, Cheryl Nolan won gold in the junior 1,500m and Sinead Kelly competing in the same race finished a credible fifth place.
1.3(In some vehicles) the fifth (and typically highest) in a sequence of gears: in my panic I changed from third to fifth
More example sentences
  • These figures are achieved high in the rev range, and with a fairly relaxed fifth gear a quick shift back to fourth is needed for quick overtaking.
  • Brett Sales yanked the Cavalier's gear down from fifth into fourth to overtake the van in front of him before he reached the next roundabout.
  • Despite being geared to reach its top speed in the fifth of its seven gears, you can never quite escape the V10's voice.
1.4Fifthly (used to introduce a fifth point or reason): fourth, it can aid the process of life review, and fifth, it is an enjoyable and stimulating experience
1.5 Music An interval spanning five consecutive notes in a diatonic scale, in particular (also perfect fifth) an interval of three whole steps and a half step (e.g., C to G): strings tuned a fifth apart
More example sentences
  • Open fifths, fourths and tritones, modality and whole-tone scales abound.
  • The strings of a four-string cello are usually tuned in fifths.
  • And several times in the book a diminished fifth rather than an augmented fourth is called a tritone.
1.6 Music The note which is higher by a fifth than the root of a diatonic scale.
Example sentences
  • The third of a triad may be emphasized above its root or fifth to create a ‘sweeter’ quality in a dolce passage.
  • The crisp phrases of the robust seventeen-bar ground, with its harmonically stable fourths and fifths and harmonious consort of bass and triadic chords, clearly assert the traditional lineaments of the form.
  • The final movement is based on chords of parallel fifths.
1.7 (a fifth of) US informal A fifth of a gallon, as a measure of liquor, or a bottle of this capacity: a fifth of whiskey
More example sentences
  • The first thing he did was stop in a liquor store to buy a fifth of rye whiskey.
  • Witnesses later confirmed Bill stopped at the liquor store at the county line and downed a fifth of whiskey before driving into town.
  • I guess shelter should be my first priority, and then about a fifth of some liquor that tastes about as nasty as it smells.
1.8The fifth grade of a school.
Example sentences
  • In fifth grade, my brilliance reached new heights.
  • ‘I've seen such growth in her,’ she says of her child, now entering fifth grade.
  • Of the 1993 cohort that entered primary school in developing countries, nearly one-fourth failed to reach the fifth grade.


take (or plead) the Fifth

(In the US) exercise the right, guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, of refusing to answer questions in order to avoid incriminating oneself: Why is she taking the Fifth if she didn’t do anything wrong?
More example sentences
  • Her taking the fifth amendment will be the story until the war starts.
  • Lawyers note that having your lawyer send the message that you will take the fifth can often get you out of a grand jury appearance altogether or at least be the opening gambit in a negotiation with a prosecutor.
  • Four years ago in Nagano, Japan, remember, Team Canada finished fourth and Team USA took the fifth - at least when it came to explaining how the furniture in the athletes' village got trashed.



Pronunciation: /ˈfi(f)THlē/
Example sentences
  • And, fifthly, policy-making is not an event but is ‘ethereal, diffuse, haphazard and somewhat volatile.’
  • And that, fifthly and finally, is exactly the chief offering that monastics can make to the wider world.
  • But then fifthly, this righteousness is freely given but was not bought cheaply.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fifth

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