Definition of forty in English:

forty

cardinal number

  • 1The number equivalent to the product of four and ten; ten less than fifty; 40.

    ‘York was only forty miles away’
    ‘forty were arrested’
    ‘there were about thirty or forty of them’
    • ‘Considering he has authored forty to fifty books, that should be quite a project.’
    • ‘Over the past forty or fifty years, exposure to indoor air pollutants has increased.’
    • ‘It may mean that you are in one of the forty to fifty thousand households with their names on the growing local authority housing waiting lists.’
    • ‘It's a right-wing group with about forty or fifty thousand members around the world.’
    • ‘A stream bed forty or fifty feet wide is mostly dried mud, with only a pool or two of standing water.’
    • ‘Even then, they sometimes played to off-Broadway numbers of forty or fifty people a night.’
    • ‘Somewhere between forty and fifty people attended, and we finished sixteen bottles of champagne over a two hour period.’
    • ‘Now forty thousand years ago is about as early as modern humans got to Europe.’
    • ‘I thought they would be hitting it forty or fifty yards past me, but that wasn't the case.’
    • ‘The colonels are hitting the enemy with forty to fifty air strikes a day.’
    • ‘Mr O'Neill said in the first three years of the operation of the anti-drugs scheme between forty and fifty players had been tested each year.’
    • ‘Then, with a beating of drums, forty or fifty well-built villagers filed out of the temple and took up their stations along the side of the tank parapet.’
    • ‘I had no idea what response I might get: forty or fifty signatures would, I thought, be good.’
    • ‘I've travelled to over forty different countries in four years.’
    • ‘It adds up to only 100 people around the world, but somehow there are forty to fifty organizations.’
    • ‘They service 850 customer airlines in forty countries on four continents.’
    • ‘Some were made for one person only, others for forty, fifty or more.’
    • ‘It was taken for granted that children would accompany their parents to church and sit quietly through a sermon lasting forty to fifty minutes.’
    • ‘The latter is used as a frame in section four, where forty pros and cons of paper versus electronic products are reviewed.’
    • ‘They met men confined to prison for thirty, forty, or fifty years, no one knowing why they were there in the first place.’
    1. 1.1forties The numbers from forty to forty-nine, especially the years of a century or of a person's life.
      ‘Terry was in his early forties’
      • ‘He was described as being aged in his late forties or fifties, with short, straight, grey hair.’
      • ‘All are in their mid forties and are among the top earners in the US.’
      • ‘Like most people past their mid forties, he uses spectacles to read and write.’
      • ‘Fortunately for the couple, who are aged in their late forties, it was not enough to lead to any arrests.’
      • ‘For that matter, the trail doesn't even have to begin until a player reaches his forties.’
      • ‘It probably finishes abruptly at the very awkward age of the early forties.’
      • ‘All of the participants were female, and their ages ranged from the early forties to the early sixties.’
      • ‘She is a small woman in her early forties with short red hair.’
      • ‘The man was in his mid forties with a long brown hair and a beard.’
      • ‘I think he'll really come into his own during his forties and fifties.’
      • ‘The age of the grandparents ranged from the early forties to mid fifties.’
      • ‘The couples who sit together on the benches are older, in their late twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, and so forth.’
      • ‘He was in his forties with curly salt-and-pepper hair and was wearing a surfer shirt.’
      • ‘Instead, it is middle earners in the private sector in their thirties and forties who are likely to get the brunt of the trouble.’
      • ‘Five men, all aged in their thirties or forties, were arrested at the scene.’
      • ‘He looked as lively and sprightly as ever despite now being in his mid forties.’
      • ‘And wages vary by age - peak decades for earning are our thirties and forties.’
      • ‘Like most female professionals, women of my age in their forties and fifties dress conservatively.’
      • ‘Atherosclerosis poses the largest threat when people reach their forties or fifties.’
      • ‘But he discovered that the connecting white matter actually grew until his subjects reached their late forties.’
    2. 1.2 Forty years old.
      ‘a tall woman of about forty’
      • ‘Close to the door sits an overweight man nearing forty.’
      • ‘This was Damien's first ever race over fences at the age of forty, an age when most jockeys are thinking about hanging up their boots.’
      • ‘Doctor Jones was nearing forty, and had gotten his doctorate through the help of the military.’
      • ‘The sage was at least forty years in age, and very frail looking.’
      • ‘Both feature works created since 2000 by artists who are predominantly under forty years of age.’
      • ‘What happens with friendships undertaken at the age of forty?’
      • ‘Trying anything for the first time past the age of forty is bound to be exciting.’
      • ‘Now the people who went to graduate school when that started are forty, forty-five, fifty years old.’
      • ‘Just because you're nearing forty doesn't mean you have to start having anxiety attacks.’
      • ‘Subconsciously imitating this legend, at the ripe age of forty, I have found myself a tutor as well.’
      • ‘Look, dude, you're pushing forty.’
      • ‘He must have been young at that time, since he only appeared barely over forty years of age, despite a weathered face and body.’
      • ‘I've always joked that I became a writer when I saw the age of forty coming at me.’
      • ‘In terms of crime control, prison cells spent on people past the age of forty are mostly wasted.’
      • ‘Hamilton retired from the Treasury at the age of forty and returned to New York to practice law.’
      • ‘At the age of forty, calculations of long-term self-interest have largely prevailed over hormones.’
      • ‘Eight are women, nine are under thirty years old, and four are above forty.’
      • ‘Not for me was there a crisis at thirty, forty, fifty, or even sixty.’
      • ‘Ms. Douglas was a stringy woman who was nearing the age of forty.’
      • ‘She's past forty, and she had her last child eight years ago.’
    3. 1.3 Forty miles an hour.
      ‘they were doing about forty’
      • ‘He then started at a sprint, perhaps moving thirty five to forty miles per hour in his inhuman speed and his horrible fear.’
      • ‘I hit the rear nearside quarter of the car at just over forty miles an hour.’
      • ‘I found myself cruising down the dirt road at a pleasant forty miles an hour.’
      • ‘He backed out and before I knew it we were driving around forty miles an hour in Timberville.’
      • ‘To me, it appears that the light beam is outpacing you by forty miles an hour.’
      • ‘Another problem is the location of forty and indeed thirty-mile speed limits miles from the town or city centre.’
      • ‘I was dozing happily this morning when I became conscious of four little paws pounding up the stairs at what sounded like forty miles per hour.’
      • ‘We chug towards home at a steady forty miles per hour.’
      • ‘It was probably going forty miles an hour when it started to break.’
      • ‘Mac nodded, turning on the Jeep and pulling out of the driveway at forty miles per hour.’
      • ‘All I saw was a car coming straight at me, at about thirty to forty miles per hour!’
      • ‘It was four blocks before he caught up with her, and he saw with numb amazement that she was running at nearly forty miles an hour.’
      • ‘Even if they are five miles an hour adrift, the defendant was still doing forty miles an hour.’
      • ‘Something catches the driver's eye at forty miles per hour through the congested street.’
      • ‘None of us had a radar gun today, but I'm guessing Jimmy was topping out at forty miles per hour.’
      • ‘I never see it coming, but it feels like a ten-ton truck at forty miles an hour.’
      • ‘They all went whizzing by us as we tootled along at forty miles per hour.’
      • ‘The other driver, who was fixing her makeup in the rear view mirror while driving on my side of the road at forty miles per hour, hit me quiet forcefully.’
    4. 1.4 A size of garment or other merchandise denoted by forty.
  • 2The central North Sea between Scotland and southern Norway, so called from its prevailing depth of forty fathoms or more.

    See also the roaring forties at roaring
    1. 2.1 A shipping forecast area covering the central North Sea east of Scotland.

Phrases

  • forty winks

    • informal A short sleep, especially during the day.

      ‘I could do with forty winks right now’
      • ‘But before you switch off your mobile, blissfully catch forty winks and let your voice mail pile up, remember that message retrieval costs Rs.1.50 per minute.’
      • ‘When I returned the builders were in the process of packing up for lunch so I waved them off and slid under the bedcover with the intent of catching forty winks while they were gone.’
      • ‘At least they'd go out on the pitch feeling refreshed after forty winks.’
      • ‘But the tiredness caught up with me, too, so while the process was running, I lay down on the sofa and took forty winks, too.’
      • ‘With all the commotion going on outside on Sunday, Eric retired to his favourite spot for forty winks.’
      • ‘I don't think I could sleep forty winks tonight.’
      • ‘I still know where the young kids are at, and it seems most of them are head down on their desk having forty winks.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, trying to catch forty winks before last night's debate between candidates Kerry and Bush was not a good idea.’
      • ‘So it's back to passive browsing through some of my favourite blogs, excluding the Australian bloggers who, unlike me, are catching up on their forty winks.’
      • ‘Hain's difficulty is that he took his forty winks at a most inappropriate moment.’
      repose, relaxation, leisure, ease, inactivity, respite, time off, time out, breathing space
      View synonyms

Origin

Old English fēowertig (see four, -ty).

Pronunciation

forty

/ˈfɔːti/