Definition of dozen in English:



  • 1A group or set of twelve.

    ‘a dozen bottles of sherry’
    • ‘However, my embassy knows of a dozen recent examples where the opposite has been true.’
    • ‘Long queues at the checkouts at midnight, and not much more than a dozen spaces left in the car park.’
    • ‘A nearby rock, the Haystack, has a colony of seals, of which you can see a dozen or so at low tide.’
    • ‘More than a dozen children spent a couple of hours learning about stained glass making.’
    • ‘Unfortunately it was getting dark but in the time available to them they caught a dozen or so fish.’
    • ‘A dozen or so sat on their reflections on the smooth steel grey water of the loch.’
    • ‘The first golfer said that he sent his wife a dozen red roses and fixed a gourmet dinner for two.’
    • ‘You eat at one of only a dozen or so tables by the swimming pool in a flower-filled courtyard.’
    • ‘Only a dozen or so fish had been caught from the dozens and dozens of boats which included two fish for Bill.’
    • ‘The base of the trunk is pushed just four feet into the ground and secured with a dozen or more wooden wedges.’
    • ‘I ploughed through the list of courses and picked out about a dozen that appealed.’
    • ‘Over time the faded memories of the dozen or so participants will go with them to grave.’
    • ‘I was at home last night and this morning brought back to London a dozen or so of these carrier bags.’
    • ‘This contest is primarily a war of turnout in a dozen or so battleground states.’
    • ‘It's Friday evening and so there are a dozen of us trying to catch the barman's eye in the George.’
    • ‘For every published writer out there there are at least a dozen unpublished who could be.’
    • ‘With a dozen or so games left to play in the league, the season could easily tail off between now and May.’
    • ‘Eventually the claims were whittled down to around a dozen which had some credibility.’
    • ‘There were around a dozen of us that turned up, from a variety of backgrounds and with a variety of ages.’
    • ‘Place the fish in a large saucepan with the milk and a dozen or so peppercorns.’
    1. 1.1informal A lot.
      ‘she has dozens of admirers’
      • ‘Scores dead, hundreds wounded, dozens of television networks scrambling to find an angle.’
      • ‘There are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of variations and combinations of tattoos.’
      • ‘But we have had dozens, if not scores, of calls from youngsters who are obviously worried enough to phone us.’
      • ‘In cyberspace you can win big every day as dozens of poker sites pile up the prize money to tempt us to try our ‘hand’.’
      • ‘We made our way over thousand-year-old bridges, dozens of hills and slippery dams.’
      • ‘They have so far left 22 dead and hundreds injured, including dozens of UN police and Nato troops.’
      • ‘Then the news started pouring in: four bombed trains, dozens of casualties, hundreds of injured.’
      • ‘They were booing and throwing their programmes, and dozens, if not hundreds walked out screaming in protest at the stage.’
      • ‘Kodak decided to invest dozens of billions of US dollars globally last year to expand its business.’
      • ‘The lane petered out to track, the rain increased to torrential and dozens of lambs crowded under thorn trees, bleating.’
      • ‘When you travel overseas with television gear you sometimes have to pay hundreds of pounds for dozens of extra kilos.’
      • ‘They come by the dozens, laborers swarm this vehicle hoping to be hired for the day.’
      • ‘Hundreds of people and dozens of vehicles had arrived at the Dome by this time.’
      • ‘A city centre church verger has the power to summon scores of police and dozens of security guards at the touch of a button.’
      • ‘Doubtless dozens, if not hundreds of other celebrities do the same thing.’
      • ‘Our collection spans hundreds of models, dozens of manufacturers and infinite gadgetry.’
      • ‘All this makes for a very close finish with hundreds, if not dozens of votes deciding the third seat.’
      • ‘The 80 pages and dozens of questions gave plenty of food for thought.’
      • ‘The hostile crowd included dozens of placard-waving children who stamped their feet and called for the pool to be saved.’
      • ‘As dozens of people crowded on to the gangway, the structure collapsed.’
  • 2An exchange of insults engaged in as a game or ritual among black Americans.

    • ‘The two loudly play the dozens, insulting each other to the delight of neighbors.’


  • by the dozen

    • In large quantities.

      • ‘They came in by the dozen - middle-aged couples chaperoning their kids, the young ones waiting to see what the day was all about and, surprise, surprise, college students!’
      • ‘The Dean field operatives have purchased mountains of bottled water and granola bars, and cell phones and flashlights by the dozen.’
      • ‘And motorists have been stopping by the dozen to enjoy the sight.’
      • ‘The consultants look interested and bring out bulging files marked up ‘Salary’ and leaking ten pound notes by the dozen.’
      • ‘When finally one week, the half-ton truck backs up to its designated spot, with its box filled with corn picked that morning, the place swarms with eager buyers, counting out cobs by the dozen.’
      • ‘Internet usership here skyrocketed from 9 million to 40 million over a year and a half, and new, commerce-related websites are sprouting up by the dozen.’
      • ‘A puck may only fly into the stands now and then, but foul balls, some of them travelling more than 100 mph, are hit by the dozen.’
      • ‘Instead of caddies popping in to have their grip altered or a new wood knocked up, there were jumpers and scarves by the dozen, a homespun formula which, like its forerunner, would soon be replicated beyond the bounds of the old town.’
      • ‘Elsewhere, live shrimp are sold by the dozen or individually, but the quantities tend to be roughly the same by any standard of sale.’
      • ‘It's Vancouver, there are panhandlers by the dozen everywhere you look.’
      • ‘He would regularly invite friends by the dozen to stay, entertaining them lavishly and paying for it by selling the jewels he was regularly given by grateful foreign sovereigns.’
      • ‘Try to avoid being there in the middle of the day, when tourist coaches arrive by the dozen (another good reason to stop for lunch on the way).’
      • ‘But in bad years fires kill by the dozen and destroy houses by the thousand.’
      • ‘There is a sense in which my love of languages is a substitute for adventure - for travel and all those other ways that get you out of yourself and into the world in which you can find secret places by the dozen.’
      • ‘People kept trickling in by the dozen, stopping by to take a look, choosing something that caught their fancy and even placing orders for more.’
      • ‘Now that water is gushing out of the crest gates, the ancient temple near Lingasagur is attracting visitors by the dozen.’
      • ‘The department stores are beginning to hire Santas by the dozen.’
      • ‘Not too coincidentally, Márquez’ book is showing up in bookstores by the dozen.’
      • ‘Having an address is very important, especially if you live right in the middle of the city and have people coming to see you by the dozen.’
      • ‘Are you one of those cooks who can turn out fancy dishes by the dozen, but are at a loss when it comes to preparing traditional delights?’
      aplenty, in abundance, in profusion, in great quantity, in large numbers, by the dozen
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  • talk nineteen to the dozen

    • Talk incessantly.

      • ‘She talks nineteen to the dozen, amusingly, self - deprecatingly, practically, irreverently.’
      • ‘They were soon on board and talking nineteen to the dozen.’
      prattle, blather, blether, blither, gabble, prate, drivel, rattle away, rattle on, ramble, maunder, go on, run on, talk at length, talk incessantly, talk a lot, chatter, yap
      jabber, blabber, yatter, jaw, gab, gas, chit-chat, yackety-yak
      rabbit, witter, waffle, natter, chunter, talk the hind legs off a donkey
      run off at the mouth
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Middle English: from Old French dozeine, based on Latin duodecim twelve.