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’
    • ‘The latter is used as a frame in section four, where forty pros and cons of paper versus electronic products are reviewed.’
    • ‘I thought they would be hitting it forty or fifty yards past me, but that wasn't the case.’
    • ‘Over the past forty or fifty years, exposure to indoor air pollutants has increased.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some were made for one person only, others for forty, fifty or more.’
    • ‘A stream bed forty or fifty feet wide is mostly dried mud, with only a pool or two of standing water.’
    • ‘I had no idea what response I might get: forty or fifty signatures would, I thought, be good.’
    • ‘It was taken for granted that children would accompany their parents to church and sit quietly through a sermon lasting forty to fifty minutes.’
    • ‘They met men confined to prison for thirty, forty, or fifty years, no one knowing why they were there in the first place.’
    • ‘It's a right-wing group with about forty or fifty thousand members around the world.’
    • ‘Even then, they sometimes played to off-Broadway numbers of forty or fifty people a night.’
    • ‘Considering he has authored forty to fifty books, that should be quite a project.’
    • ‘Now forty thousand years ago is about as early as modern humans got to Europe.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Somewhere between forty and fifty people attended, and we finished sixteen bottles of champagne over a two hour period.’
    • ‘The colonels are hitting the enemy with forty to fifty air strikes a day.’
    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’
      • ‘Atherosclerosis poses the largest threat when people reach their forties or fifties.’
      • ‘He was in his forties with curly salt-and-pepper hair and was wearing a surfer shirt.’
      • ‘I think he'll really come into his own during his forties and fifties.’
      • ‘Like most female professionals, women of my age in their forties and fifties dress conservatively.’
      • ‘All are in their mid forties and are among the top earners in the US.’
      • ‘He looked as lively and sprightly as ever despite now being in his mid forties.’
      • ‘She is a small woman in her early forties with short red hair.’
      • ‘Instead, it is middle earners in the private sector in their thirties and forties who are likely to get the brunt of the trouble.’
      • ‘But he discovered that the connecting white matter actually grew until his subjects reached their late forties.’
      • ‘All of the participants were female, and their ages ranged from the early forties to the early sixties.’
      • ‘He was described as being aged in his late forties or fifties, with short, straight, grey hair.’
      • ‘It probably finishes abruptly at the very awkward age of the early forties.’
      • ‘Fortunately for the couple, who are aged in their late forties, it was not enough to lead to any arrests.’
      • ‘The age of the grandparents ranged from the early forties to mid fifties.’
      • ‘The man was in his mid forties with a long brown hair and a beard.’
      • ‘And wages vary by age - peak decades for earning are our thirties and forties.’
      • ‘For that matter, the trail doesn't even have to begin until a player reaches his forties.’
      • ‘The couples who sit together on the benches are older, in their late twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, and so forth.’
      • ‘Like most people past their mid forties, he uses spectacles to read and write.’
      • ‘Five men, all aged in their thirties or forties, were arrested at the scene.’
    2. 1.2 Forty years old.
      ‘a tall woman of about forty’
      • ‘Now the people who went to graduate school when that started are forty, forty-five, fifty years old.’
      • ‘What happens with friendships undertaken at the age of forty?’
      • ‘Not for me was there a crisis at thirty, forty, fifty, or even sixty.’
      • ‘I've always joked that I became a writer when I saw the age of forty coming at me.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He must have been young at that time, since he only appeared barely over forty years of age, despite a weathered face and body.’
      • ‘Both feature works created since 2000 by artists who are predominantly under forty years of age.’
      • ‘Look, dude, you're pushing forty.’
      • ‘Doctor Jones was nearing forty, and had gotten his doctorate through the help of the military.’
      • ‘Ms. Douglas was a stringy woman who was nearing the age of forty.’
      • ‘Hamilton retired from the Treasury at the age of forty and returned to New York to practice law.’
      • ‘The sage was at least forty years in age, and very frail looking.’
      • ‘Eight are women, nine are under thirty years old, and four are above forty.’
      • ‘She's past forty, and she had her last child eight years ago.’
      • ‘In terms of crime control, prison cells spent on people past the age of forty are mostly wasted.’
      • ‘Subconsciously imitating this legend, at the ripe age of forty, I have found myself a tutor as well.’
      • ‘At the age of forty, calculations of long-term self-interest have largely prevailed over hormones.’
      • ‘Just because you're nearing forty doesn't mean you have to start having anxiety attacks.’
      • ‘Close to the door sits an overweight man nearing forty.’
      • ‘Trying anything for the first time past the age of forty is bound to be exciting.’
    3. 1.3 Forty miles an hour.
      ‘they were doing about forty’
      • ‘None of us had a radar gun today, but I'm guessing Jimmy was topping out at forty miles per hour.’
      • ‘I hit the rear nearside quarter of the car at just over 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 found myself cruising down the dirt road at a pleasant forty miles an hour.’
      • ‘I never see it coming, but it feels like a ten-ton truck at forty miles an hour.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They all went whizzing by us as we tootled along at forty miles per hour.’
      • ‘We chug towards home at a steady forty miles per hour.’
      • ‘All I saw was a car coming straight at me, at about thirty to 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.’
      • ‘He then started at a sprint, perhaps moving thirty five to forty miles per hour in his inhuman speed and his horrible fear.’
      • ‘Something catches the driver's eye at forty miles per hour through the congested street.’
      • ‘Even if they are five miles an hour adrift, the defendant was still doing forty miles an 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.’
      • ‘It was probably going forty miles an hour when it started to break.’
      • ‘To me, it appears that the light beam is outpacing you by forty miles an hour.’
      • ‘He backed out and before I knew it we were driving around forty miles an hour in Timberville.’
      • ‘Mac nodded, turning on the Jeep and pulling out of the driveway at forty miles per hour.’
    4. 1.4 A size of garment or other merchandise denoted by forty.
    5. 1.5Tennis The third point won by a player in a game.
      ‘up forty-love on his serve, he hit two double faults’
  • 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’
      • ‘Unfortunately, trying to catch forty winks before last night's debate between candidates Kerry and Bush was not a good idea.’
      • ‘With all the commotion going on outside on Sunday, Eric retired to his favourite spot for 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At least they'd go out on the pitch feeling refreshed after forty winks.’
      • ‘I don't think I could sleep forty winks tonight.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I still know where the young kids are at, and it seems most of them are head down on their desk having forty winks.’
      • ‘Hain's difficulty is that he took his forty winks at a most inappropriate moment.’
      • ‘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.’
      repose, relaxation, leisure, ease, inactivity, respite, time off, time out, breathing space
      View synonyms

Origin

Old English fēowertig (see four, -ty).

Pronunciation

forty

/ˈfɔːti/