Definition of dozen in English:

dozen

noun

  • 1dozensA group or set of twelve.

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    • ‘For every published writer out there there are at least a dozen unpublished who could be.’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

Phrases

  • by the dozen

    • In large quantities.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Elsewhere, live shrimp are sold by the dozen or individually, but the quantities tend to be roughly the same by any standard of sale.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Not too coincidentally, Márquez’ book is showing up in bookstores by the dozen.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Now that water is gushing out of the crest gates, the ancient temple near Lingasagur is attracting visitors 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.’
      • ‘But in bad years fires kill by the dozen and destroy houses by the thousand.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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).’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The department stores are beginning to hire Santas by the dozen.’
      • ‘And motorists have been stopping by the dozen to enjoy the sight.’
      • ‘It's Vancouver, there are panhandlers by the dozen everywhere you look.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘The Dean field operatives have purchased mountains of bottled water and granola bars, and cell phones and flashlights by the dozen.’
      • ‘The consultants look interested and bring out bulging files marked up ‘Salary’ and leaking ten pound notes 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.’
      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.

      • ‘They were soon on board and talking nineteen to the dozen.’
      • ‘She talks nineteen to the dozen, amusingly, self - deprecatingly, practically, irreverently.’
      prattle, blather, blether, blither, babble, babble on, gabble, prate, drivel, rattle away, rattle on, ramble, maunder, go on, run on, talk at length, talk incessantly, talk a lot, chatter, yap
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Origin

Middle English: from Old French dozeine, based on Latin duodecim ‘twelve’.

Pronunciation

dozen

/ˈdʌz(ə)n/