Definition of nine in English:

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Pronunciation: /nīn/

cardinal number

1Equivalent to the product of three and three; one more than eight, or one less than ten; 9: all nine justices agreed that the law could not stand nine of the twelve members (Roman numeral: ix or IX)
More example sentences
  • It's only classics that you've seen eight or nine productions of as a reviewer.
  • Mainscale production has to be the key and we need to be thinking of eight or nine mainscale productions every year.
  • Although none of them feature on the leaderboard, it was a productive day for eight of the nine Scots who made the halfway cut.
1.1A group or unit of nine individuals.
Example sentences
  • Justices on the top court tend to stick around for a long time. Seven of the current nine were there a dozen years ago.
1.2Nine years old: I was only nine
More example sentences
  • A burning desire to travel first seized him at the age of nine when his family emigrated from Nottingham to New Zealand.
  • I started learning to dance at the age of six, but at the age of nine I had heart problems and the doctor forbade me categorically from dancing.
  • Vince, his children aged nine and 10, and his parents all left, but his wife - a nurse - stayed to help at a local hospital.
1.3Nine o’clock: it’s ten to nine
More example sentences
  • Music often goes all night from nine in the evening to seven the next morning.
  • The later licences allow people to start their evening at nine or even ten at night, or take in a show or a meal and still have time for a drink afterwards.
  • We worked until dinner time and then to nine or ten at night; on Saturday it could be till eleven and often till twelve at night.
1.4A size of garment or other merchandise denoted by nine.
1.5A playing card with nine pips.
Example sentences
  • For instance if the player before you played some cards an said ‘two tens ‘, and you do not wish to challenge, you have a choice of playing jacks or nines.
  • If equal sets of identical cards are played by different players (such as two nines of spades and two nines of diamonds when nines and clubs are trumps), then the earliest played beats the others.
  • This player can choose one of the four suits, or can call nines as trumps.
1.6 (the Nine) Greek Mythology The nine Muses.



dressed to the nines

see dress.

nine times out of ten

On nearly every occasion; almost always.
Example sentences
  • It does not disguise the fact, however, that nine times out of ten, I am sitting in the shadows nearly wetting myself with fear over the chance that I might be discovered by a shambling madman wielding a garden trowel.
  • We had the game, shouldn't have let them in for that goal, and nine times out of ten, we wouldn't have got another chance.
  • Maybe it's their dark, brooding eyes, or their full lips, or their bravado - but there is no coincidence that the boys I make eyes with across the bar are, nine times out of ten, from South America.


Old English nigon, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch negen and German neun, from an Indo-European root shared by Sanskrit nava, Latin novem, and Greek ennea.

  • All of our main number words go back to the most ancient times. Nine is Old English but can be traced back to a root that was shared by Latin novem and Greek ennea. The phrase dressed up to the nines dates from the early 18th century. At first it meant ‘to perfection, to the greatest degree’, but by the mid 19th century was particularly associated with smart dress, as in ‘When she's dressed up to the nines for some grand party’ (Thomas Hardy, 1896). One theory is that it comes from the name of the 99th Wiltshire Regiment, known as the Nines, which was famous for its smart appearance. But their reputation seems to have dated from the 1850s, which means that it is unlikely to account for this much earlier phrase. See also talk

Words that rhyme with nine

align, assign, benign, brine, chine, cline, combine, condign, confine, consign, dine, divine, dyne, enshrine, entwine, fine, frontline, hardline, interline, intertwine, kine, Klein, line, Main, malign, mine, moline, on-line, opine, outshine, pine, Rhein, Rhine, shine, shrine, sign, sine, spine, spline, stein, Strine, swine, syne, thine, tine, trine, twine, Tyne, underline, undermine, vine, whine, wine

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: nine

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