Definition of century in English:


Line breaks: cen|tury
Pronunciation: /ˈsɛntʃʊri

noun (plural centuries)

  • 1A period of one hundred years: a century ago most people walked to work
    More example sentences
    • Visitors to the Castle Museum will be able to discover more about the building's grim past centuries ago when it served as a debtors' prison.
    • Tall fescue, a vigorous Old World grass introduced to the New more than a century ago, now reigns over much of this region.
    • It killed one in seven Americans a little over a century ago, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.
  • 1.1A period of a hundred years reckoned from the traditional date of the birth of Christ: the fifteenth century [as modifier]: a twentieth-century lifestyle
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    • In the third century before Christ's birth, China is a collection of seven warring states that have yet to unite into one country.
    • This little house dates from the 15th century and has a traditional chimney.
    • The cross bow loops in the south wall are similar to an example in the west wall of Whites Castle and may be dated to the fifteenth century.
  • 2A score of a hundred in a sporting event, especially a batsman’s score of a hundred runs in cricket: he scored the only century of the tour
    More example sentences
    • Has any batsman scored an unbeaten century in each innings of a Test match and still finished on the losing side?
    • One of your recent answers talked about batsmen who have scored centuries against all nine possible Test opponents.
    • And he is only one of four batsmen ever to score centuries in four consecutive innings, in 2002.
  • 3A company in the ancient Roman army, originally of a hundred men.
    More example sentences
    • Centurions took their title from the fact that they commanded a century.
    • He often fought at the right front of his Century.
    • The Legion's NCOs were 60 Centurions, long-serving professional soldiers who each commanded a century of 80 men.
  • 3.1An ancient Roman political division for voting.
    More example sentences
    • The Comitia Centuriata (Centuriate Committee) included both patricians and plebeians organized into five economic Classes (knights and senators being the First Class) and distributed among internal divisions called Centuries.
    • Membership in the Centuriate Committee required certain economic status, and power was heavily vested in the first eighteen Centuries; the Centuriate Committee was dominated by the First and Second Classes.
    • The 193 centuries were determined by wealth, and the richest centuries were also the smallest, so individual votes in these counted more heavily (when a majority of the 193 votes was reached, voting was stopped, so some of the largest centuries rarely got to cast votes).



Pronunciation: /sɛnˈtjʊərɪəl/
More example sentences
  • According to the Gregorian calendar, which is the civil calendar in use today, years evenly divisible by 4 are leap years, with the exception of centurial years that are not evenly divisible by 400.
  • We argue that this behavior of cycle 23 might be a signal for an upcoming centurial solar minimum.
  • I shall make seven suggestions, drawn from and keyed to the seven centurial tendencies I have sketched out.


late Middle English (in sense 3): from Latin centuria, from centum 'hundred'. sense 1 dates from the early 17th century.


1 Strictly speaking, centuries run from 01 to 100, meaning that the new century begins on the first day of the year 01 (i.e. 1 January 1901, 1 January 2001, etc.). In practice and in popular perception, however, the new century is held to begin when the significant digits in the date change, e.g. on 1 January 2000, when 1999 became 2000. 2 Since the 1st century ran from the year 1 to the year 100, the ordinal number (i.e. second, third, fourth, etc.) used to denote the century will always be one digit higher than the corresponding cardinal digit(s). Thus, 1066 is a date in the 11th century, 1542 is a date in the 16th century, and so on.

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