Definition of fifteen in English:


Pronunciation /ˈfɪftiːn//fɪfˈtiːn/

cardinal number

  • 1Equivalent to the product of three and five; one more than fourteen, or five more than ten; 15.

    ‘all fifteen bedrooms have private facilities’
    ‘fifteen feet high’
    ‘fifteen of Howard's troops were killed’
    • ‘During the day we discovered fourteen or fifteen other people, and most people hadn't even checked.’
    • ‘While this was going on the team got off to a horrible start, losing fifteen of eighteen games.’
    • ‘Try the same operation on a man - and twelve or fifteen vessels must be tied as a matter of absolute necessity.’
    • ‘Well, you know the history of drug development it can take five, ten, fifteen years to get a drug on the market.’
    • ‘I don't know whether it's five years or fifteen years, but I think those things will happen.’
    • ‘The judges have now chosen the fifteen best teams to go forward into the next stage in March.’
    • ‘Every day I receive somewhere between five and fifteen begging letters from people asking me to do them favours.’
    • ‘Fourteen and fifteen seem to be as good as any at the moment.’
    • ‘This is when groups of from five to fifteen families set out with their livestock in search of green pasture.’
    • ‘Each master artist selects five to fifteen applicants to the program with whom he or she will work.’
    • ‘If the game had fifteen cases instead of five, then it would have definitely been recommendable.’
    • ‘It takes five to fifteen times as much ginseng as aspirin or caffeine to produce toxicity in animals.’
    • ‘Ella sighed, fifteen minutes had passed, and the show was about to start in ten.’
    • ‘Of the fifteen, fourteen had gone public after their acceptance.’
    • ‘I didn't complain about my Health and Fitness class, even though Mrs. Zeller made all of us run fifteen laps around the gym.’
    • ‘The Rat had hired three cooks, five waitresses and fifteen chorus girls for the occasion.’
    • ‘Armed with this knowledge, the division cut its cycle time from fifteen to less than five days.’
    • ‘School boards had between five and fifteen members and were the most advanced democratic bodies of their day.’
    • ‘Upon entering the lounge, we were greeted by the cheers of about fifteen football players.’
    • ‘Four plus five plus three plus fifteen is less than 40; what happened to the other inmates?’
    1. 1.1 A size of garment or other merchandise denoted by fifteen.
    2. 1.2 Fifteen years old.
      ‘she must be fifteen by now’
      • ‘She was born Margaret Ann but changed her name at the age of fifteen.’
      • ‘There were perhaps thirty in all, boys and girls anywhere between five and fifteen years old.’
      • ‘One in three New Zealanders aged fifteen and over has no qualification.’
      • ‘One in ten persons over the age of fifteen has high blood pressure.’
      • ‘And I was fifteen, Ryden was five and baby Troy was barely a toddler when it happened again.’
      • ‘When I reached the ripe old age of fifteen, I signed up for the Air Cadets.’
      • ‘At the age of fifteen he discovered that his father was living at Lightning Ridge.’
      • ‘Whatever made me think, at the age of fifteen, I could ever get away with it?’
      • ‘People usually start working at the age of fifteen and retire at age sixty.’
      • ‘Green's anthology was my introduction to Australian poetry at the age of fifteen or so, and for me it was love at first sight.’
      • ‘Some of the older men didn't, and the boys who looked about fourteen or fifteen opted out.’
      • ‘Travelling on the tube today, I sat facing a surly girl of about fifteen years of age.’
      • ‘The two of us used to get on the city bus and go there when we were fourteen and fifteen.’
      • ‘The Derby County midfielder made his first appearance at just fifteen and was a regular by the time he hit seventeen.’
      • ‘Does it work when a staff is comprised of counselors ages fifteen through fifty?’
      • ‘He lived there until at the age of fifteen, he decided it was time to leave.’
      • ‘The definition of literacy used by the government is that one must be over the age of fifteen and capable of reading and writing.’
      • ‘Almost half of the country's population is under fifteen years of age.’
      • ‘Woodrow was born in Tiverton in 1926, and at the age of fifteen he began fishing.’
      • ‘It intends to help students between five and fifteen years overcome their learning disabilities.’
    3. 1.3 A team of fifteen players, especially in rugby.
      • ‘This strong side gives the first fifteen that added motivation to do the business.’
      • ‘He is Ilkley's second fifteen captain and has lead his men in an unbeaten season thus far.’
      • ‘Fred learned a lot from his time in New Zealand and has now established himself in Ilkley's first fifteen.’
      • ‘Friday said: ‘Some players are destined to be great fifteens players, and some great sevens players.’’
      • ‘Mike Leeson takes the mantle of first fifteen skipper and he will, no doubt, lead from the front.’
      • ‘The team has a good age profile about it with quite a number of young players staking claims for places on the first fifteen.’
      • ‘On a personal note I was disappointed at the poor representation of players on the starting fifteen.’
      • ‘However, it is arguable that clubs with second fifteens in a metropolitan league, should be playing in a provincial cup of similar status.’
      • ‘But they have a seconds team which could hurdle several rounds of the cup, so the loss of first team players should not create the same problems as for other teams existing on the bare fifteens.’
      • ‘The affiliations committee felt the club's first team are too strong for the intermediate grade where all the other seven teams are second fifteens.’
      • ‘But as has been said often in the past this team is not just about the starting fifteen.’
      • ‘Both players on the starting fifteen made a major contribution to the success.’
      • ‘Three players from the area were on the starting fifteen all in defence.’
      • ‘Senior clubs are put to the pin of their collar to float cash-demanding first fifteens with the noticeable result that the lower teams are relatively unattended.’
    4. 1.4British (of a film) classified as suitable for people of 15 years and over.
  • 2historical The Jacobite rebellion of 1715.


  • fifteen minutes of fame (or famous for fifteen minutes)

    • Used with reference to a brief period of fame enjoyed by an ordinary person.

      • ‘Sole survivors rarely enjoy their fifteen minutes of fame, particularly when their work covers an obscure escape.’
      • ‘After all, they too deserved their fifteen minutes of fame.’
      • ‘It was (one of) my fifteen minutes of fame, and I still get a thrill seeing my name up there, even if no-one else has a clue who I am or what I did.’
      • ‘Could this have been my fifteen minutes of fame?’
      • ‘It seems everyone really does want their fifteen minutes of fame - bar none.’
      • ‘The lives, loves and actions of everybody are shrunk down so that everyone can have their fifteen minutes of fame.’
      • ‘In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.’
      • ‘Even the humblest of trainers can have his fifteen minutes of fame.’
      • ‘He afforded everyone their fifteen minutes of fame.’
      • ‘The parties went on into the small hours, with the usual suspects in attendance, plus a few who were trying to milk their fifteen minutes of fame.’


Old English fīftēne, fīftīene (see five, -teen).