Definition of two in English:


cardinal number

  • 1Equivalent to the sum of one and one; one less than three; 2:

    ‘two years ago’
    ‘a romantic weekend for two in Paris’
    ‘two of Amy's friends’
    • ‘He was dressed in a similar way, but was carrying a small dark rucksack with two stripes down the middle.’
    • ‘These prices are per room per night and include dinner and breakfast for two people.’
    • ‘The hearing was a review of a case heard about two years ago, and the men had pleaded guilty.’
    • ‘I shrugged and watched her put two waffles in a toaster for me.’
    • ‘What we found when we dined there two weekends ago measured up to our expectations in every way.’
    • ‘He wore a long black coat over a sliver shirt with the top two buttons undone.’
    • ‘This is why regular eye check ups every two years over the age of 40 are very important.’
    • ‘The European climate in the Middle Ages was two degrees hotter than it is now.’
    • ‘Police were called after reports of a violent fight between two men outside the bar.’
    • ‘Since then she has married, and two years ago she left her native Philadelphia for New Jersey.’
    • ‘The landlady was having a late night drink with friends when two men entered the pub and demanded cash.’
    • ‘They were just two middle-class people trying to keep a roof over their heads and raise their boy.’
    • ‘It was uncomfortable and there were two long nights ahead, but it made little difference.’
    • ‘Now she only performs in two or three operas a year, spending the rest of the time on recital work.’
    • ‘Sundays are pasta nights so we ordered two big orders of pasta and a kid's meal for Mark.’
    • ‘Now, after nearly two years, life is gradually returning to normal for Peg and her family.’
    • ‘A potential nightmare of a day tomorrow as I am supposed to be in two places at once!’
    • ‘I think people choose police work for two main reasons: service or power.’
    • ‘I actually managed to get my long speech done in two takes which I was delighted with.’
    • ‘There was evidence of mouse habitation in two cupboards and on top of the washing machine.’
    pair, duo, duet, dyad, duplet, tandem
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A group or unit of two people or things:
      ‘they would straggle home in ones and twos’
      • ‘The trees in the small square by the Quadrant centre - a sort of shopping mall - still have leaves on them and they drifted down in ones and twos from a clear, sunny sky.’
      • ‘Standing in the garden for my evening breath of air, the skies overhead were clear and as the light faded the stars came out, first in ones and twos, then in threes and fours, and then in their millions.’
      • ‘However, Jeihan prefers to present human figures alone or in twos (like a mother and her child) or three figures at most.’
      • ‘My mother would tell me about the school she attended in the bush, and how the children would line up in twos to march into school, chanting their multiplication tables.’
      • ‘He mostly takes people out in groups of ones and twos, and normally it's in a wide-open space.’
      • ‘That was certainly once true of America's newspapers, which in a big country are distributed by city, almost invariably in ones or twos.’
      • ‘Soon now, very soon, it'll not be possible to count the types of flowers in bloom in twos and threes and those who want to name them accurately will have to drag out the field books and the plant recognition guides.’
      • ‘People are buying surfboards in twos and threes.’
      • ‘There are the occasional Help Lines for any emergencies that may arise, but if it is at all possible, find a buddy, as walking in twos will make you feel a lot better.’
      • ‘After collecting our bags, we are greeted in twos and threes by a pack of smiling Greek landladies who, despite speaking an alien tongue, welcome us into their homes.’
      • ‘Also lazing around are reef sharks, gathered in twos or threes, a little less than a metre long and looking like miniature Jaws but perfectly harmless if treated with respect.’
      • ‘She's not the only one - the actors have it as well, coming down in the elevator at the Winter Garden in twos and threes, then wandering out the stage door onto Victoria St. in search of a sugar fix.’
      • ‘No one is sure how they were used, but Harelson believed that they were attached in twos or threes to a long stick and used for cutting plants like a scythe.’
      • ‘The women in her Last Supper prints are grouped in twos and threes, dressed in reds and blues, and emerge from a gloomy background in a way that echoes the famous Renaissance fresco.’
      • ‘Down with the government, all chorused; and waved flags and banners, as we marched in twos and threes across broken pavements and potholed roads.’
      • ‘So, if you can go in groups of twos or threes, inside each bag, you'll find a clipboard, and it will give the specific houses and addresses that you will go to.’
      • ‘But you could make it work for twos, fours, fives, even higher groupings depending on how you defined the rules.’
      • ‘But for many called up, they were just sent in ones and twos to reserve or active duty units.’
      • ‘A couple of cameramen and a photographer from Elle arrive to capture the backstage atmosphere, and the girls switch on the charm, posing coquettishly in twos and threes.’
      • ‘People began drifting into the auditorium in ones and twos, while the competing teams brushed up their knowledge of various subjects, before going on stage to pit their wits against one another.’
      pair, duo, duet, dyad, duplet, tandem
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Two years old:
      ‘he is only two’
      • ‘There will be a professionally run crèche on site for children between the ages of two and eight.’
      • ‘In the hospital he was taken to, there were some who had had the condition from as young as two or three.’
      • ‘One solution is a tonic called Spatone, which is safe for children over the age of two.’
      • ‘As a fairly typical family of four, with children aged two and six, it is a fear we share.’
      • ‘Almost all of them are the children of Aids victims, and some die before the age of two.’
      • ‘At the age of two, she was adopted by Bob and Peggy, who eventually settled in Hampshire.’
      • ‘They cater for men and boys from the age of two upwards and have trousers and jeans up to a 62 in waist.’
      • ‘Nkosi was initially given nine months to live when Johnson took him in at the age of two.’
      • ‘Between the ages of two and three, most wild dogs leave their birth pack to start a pack of their own.’
      • ‘Cocoa died in her sleep after a year and Fred lived to the ripe old age of two and half.’
      • ‘The full set of first teeth is usually through by the age of two and a half years.’
      • ‘I read it to children aged two, five and eight and it was only the eldest child who got the conceit.’
      • ‘Parents can pay for it privately and it is given to children under the age of two.’
      • ‘Since the age of two she has been blind in one eye and has only limited vision in the other.’
      • ‘Ever since the age of two, Mary has been helping her mum Rebecca look after the rest of the family.’
      • ‘At the age of two my parents decided to move to Ringmer, near Lewes in East Sussex.’
      • ‘We would expect them to have comparable mental agility until the age of two.’
      • ‘He was taught to ride by his parents and first sat in a saddle at the age of two.’
    3. 1.3 Two o'clock:
      ‘the pub closed at two’
      • ‘That alternative had him landing at Edinburgh airport at twenty past two this afternoon.’
      • ‘The Duke and his entourage drank and ate from two in the afternoon to late into the night.’
      • ‘Further on, at about two in the morning, I left the bar and went to a cafe for a cup of coffee.’
      • ‘We ended up back at a neighbour's house drinking whisky at two in the morning, which was great.’
      • ‘In most counties of states in the USA bars close somewhere around two or three in the morning.’
      • ‘In his Madchester days, he once said an average night out started at two in the afternoon.’
      • ‘She used to work round the clock, often starting at two in the morning and finishing at six in the evening.’
      • ‘She suspected he was taking her picture but it was two in the morning; she didn't care.’
      • ‘On my last night I was sitting up having snifters of vodka until two in the morning with an agent.’
      • ‘The night before your finals I met you out in a club at two in the morning.’
      • ‘If people cannot control themselves at one or two in the morning, how are they going to cope later on?’
      • ‘It went on for hours, and even at two this morning as we headed towards bed it was still sparking in the distance.’
      • ‘It was very late one night, about two in the morning, and there was this fabulous drumming rain.’
      • ‘I saw it on SBS at about two in the morning, once, and sat there aghast for the duration.’
    4. 1.4 A size of garment or other merchandise denoted by two.
    5. 1.5 A playing card or domino with two pips.
      • ‘A 45 card pack is used - a standard pack without the twos and threes but including a joker.’
      • ‘Some say that if either player has any aces and twos in their concealed hand which can be played to the centre, they must play one such card to break the stalemate.’
      • ‘Three aces are the best trio and three twos are the lowest.’
      • ‘If it turns out that all the players in the showdown have twos, they all lose and the pot is carried forward to the next deal.’
      • ‘As usual, aces are high and twos low, so the last card played will be either an ace or a two.’
      • ‘Before the set, the two and three of spades and the two and three of hearts should be removed from the deck.’
      • ‘There are no aces or twos but there is an additional suit of stars and six jokers.’
      • ‘Jake threw down his cards as well, showing a pair of twos and three kings, and both boys looked to David to see his hand.’
      • ‘There are 7 suits: blanks, ones, twos, threes, fours, fives and sixes.’
      • ‘Aces are worth one point and threes, twos and pictures are worth one third of a point each.’
      • ‘Hola may be played with sevens as the only wild cards, twos being worthless.’
      • ‘Burraco is played with a double pack of 108 cards, including four jokers; the jokers and twos are wild.’
      • ‘Some people play that a single two beats any combination (in the basic game you would need three twos to beat three aces).’
      • ‘If Player A asks Player B if he has any twos, the answer is no.’
      • ‘Several cards may be designated as wild - for example all the twos.’
      • ‘If your pack of cards has no joker, the two of spades can be used as a substitute.’
      • ‘The twos are important: there is a special bonus for winning a trick, particularly the last trick, with a two.’
      • ‘The kids came up trumps as they were left with a royal flush beating Tommy's Bar who were only holding a pair of twos.’
      • ‘The first time he drew to an inside straight and on the second he won with a pair of twos after the flop failed to produce anything of use for the other two players still in the hand.’
      • ‘Take out all the twos before starting the game; the entire deck is dealt out evenly to all 3 players [to give each player 16 cards].’


  • a —— or two (or two or three ——)

    • A small but unspecified number:

      ‘a minute or two had passed’
      • ‘Anna was probably giving him the fluttering eyelashes right now… and in a few minutes or two… the both of them would probably be out the door hand in hand, named the next cutest couple.’
      • ‘It may be a year or two down the road.’
      • ‘And I think we are - though I still expect we'll take a step or two backwards for each few steps we take forwards.’
      • ‘But that may be a day or two down the road.’
      • ‘Yet in two to three years we will have a battle on our hands to save our existing railways.’
      • ‘Rewrap, leave for a minutes or two, then devour.’
  • be two a penny

  • in two

    • In or into two halves or pieces:

      ‘he tore the piece of paper in two’
      • ‘On the debit side of the ledger, my main frustration is that the film was cut in two.’
      • ‘The most startling story we heard was one who said a neighbour was in bed and a tree fell on their home and cut it in two.’
      • ‘My family has been ripped in two and things are never going to be the same again.’
      • ‘A visit lets you step back in time to an era which saw this city torn in two and families divided.’
      • ‘She gives him a warm smile as he folds the paper in two and hands it back to her.’
      • ‘The tree was first cut in two, then the centre of the tree was removed and the outer part shaped to act as a boat.’
      • ‘One might have expected the rope to snap in two, but it was made of stronger stuff.’
      • ‘The good news was that it was neatly cut in two, so only another wall had to be built to make it usable.’
      • ‘York is set to be split in two, with the inner city separated from an outer York seat.’
  • in two shakes (of a lamb's tail)

    • informal Very quickly:

      ‘I'll be back to you in two shakes’
      • ‘No, my dear, Nell and I will be happy to drop you off since we're already going that way, so just sit yourself down, have a Poptart and we'll all be ready to go in two shakes of a lamb's tail.’
      • ‘Compare with a semi-auto that can spit out a handful of rounds in two shakes of the proverbial lamb's tail.’
      • ‘‘You jist take a seat, young ‘un, an’ I'll be with you in two shakes.‘’
      • ‘But if we don't wind up the engineer, he'll be here in two shakes…’
      • ‘Having a broadband connection means that, as consumers, we can enjoy instant e-mail, watch live television on our PCs, or download music and large files in two shakes of a lamb's tail!’
      • ‘Thomas chuckled and informed the ladies, ‘He'll be here in two shakes,’ as he stepped past to help the kitchen staff with final preparations.’
      • ‘She had sterilized a needle in two shakes of a lamb's tail, and began about the dirty work.’
      • ‘Well, I'll be back in two shakes of a lamb's tail with some antiseptic.’
      • ‘When you wake up in the morning, you start looking at the problem again and in two shakes of a duck's tail, you've figured out the solution.’
      in a moment, in a second, in a flash, in a minute, shortly, any minute, any minute now, in a short time, in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, in no time, in less than no time, in no time at all, before you know it, before long
      in a jiffy, before you can say jack robinson, in the blink of an eye, in a blink, in the wink of an eye, in a wink, before you can say knife
      in a tick, in two ticks, in a mo
      in a snap
      View synonyms
  • it takes two to tango

    • informal Both parties involved in a situation or argument are equally responsible for it:

      ‘I hadn't been all that easy to deal with, myself—it took two to tango’
      • ‘We endorse comments by both business associations that we have to find a way to have legislation which will have a wider impact than purely partisan values - but it takes two to tango.’
      • ‘Keep in mind, it takes two to tango in contract negotiations.’
      • ‘In a relationship, just as it takes two to tango, it takes two to heal.’
      • ‘Obviously, it takes two to tango, but I am confident that this country has very substantial support within the United States, and we will continue to work on the relationship.’
      • ‘One doctor answered me, it takes two to tango so you cannot take the responsibility alone.’
      • ‘‘The company is bending over backwards to try to make this work because it is a very important initiative but it takes two to tango,’ he added.’
      • ‘The general trend is to criticise and condemn young girls who get pregnant, instead of remembering it takes two to tango.’
      • ‘No use blaming only one partner because it takes two hands to clap just as it takes two to tango!’
      • ‘After all, he explained when I'd protested, it takes two to tango.’
      • ‘I am sorry but it takes two to tango and a male who is under 16 with a female under 16 should not be punished with detention centres and the like.’
  • put two and two together

    • 1Draw an obvious conclusion from what is known or evident.

      • ‘He didn't name her but mentioned that his mother had been president of the Screen Actor's Guild, and I put two and two together.’
      • ‘We finally put two and two together an hour later.’
      • ‘The people in the VP's office then put two and two together.’
      • ‘With regard to the cost cutting, job losses and closures of public baths by City of York Council, has anyone put two and two together and realised why they are having to save money?’
      • ‘With paternity and maternity kits available on the Web for about $200, it's not hard to imagine a scenario in which a kid, already sensing there's something unsaid at home, puts two and two together and sneaks a hair from Mom's brush.’
      • ‘He obviously put two and two together quickly, because he immediately shot up from his position on the couch and helped me up.’
      • ‘It was obvious that Jae had put two and two together as well - he couldn't contain his smile as he continued to trade pleasantries with Cecilia.’
      • ‘I'm much better at putting two and two together now than I used to be.’
      • ‘I put two and two together and realised I was to draw a prize out of some sort from the jar.’
      • ‘I can't believe I hadn't put two and two together until today…’
      1. 1.1Draw a plausible but incorrect conclusion from what is known or evident.
        • ‘It really is typical of people like him to put two and two together and make five, it is his sort of people who causes conflict in this world, the so-called do-gooders.’
        • ‘2 + 2 = 5: Some people put two and two together and make five.’
        • ‘Now you're putting two and two together and making five: Yes I was in the pub.’
        • ‘When told the alleged thief was at a pub in Crookes with a red Peugeot and he saw Mr Walker ‘he put two and two together and made five.’’
        • ‘Football people hate amateur psychologists who put two and two together and make five.’
        • ‘‘It's easy journalism, maybe typical of journalism today, that they put two and two together and make five,’ says Archibald.’
        • ‘He said: ‘Hull have lost their last two games and not scored, Deano played well there last week and people are suddenly putting two and two together and coming up with five.’’
        • ‘Sitting in the hospital bed now he was putting two and two together and coming up with 5.’
        • ‘What people have done is put two and two together on the figures and come up with five.’
        • ‘Dennis's critics have basically put two and two together, using wrong information, and made five.’
  • that makes two of us

    • informal One is in the same position or holds the same opinion as the previous speaker:

      ‘‘I haven't a clue!’ ‘That makes two of us.’’
      • ‘‘Then that makes two of us,’ he stated, ‘Much as I love making words, I hate looking at the dictionary, I get so easily captivated by words that I lose myself.’’
      • ‘Well, that makes two of us then-I also have Elsa to thank for our meeting, which must have taken place about the same times as yours.’
      • ‘‘Hmm… Then that makes two of us, Belle,’ David said, after tasting his own drink.’
      • ‘‘Good - that makes two of us,’ LJ answered, smiling cheekily.’
      • ‘Well, that makes two of us, if the truth be known!’
      • ‘I guess that makes two of us who don't know the meaning of the word.’
      • ‘‘Well that makes two of us,’ James said in a low voice, the finality of his tone chilling Adaela to the bone.’
      • ‘‘Good, that makes two of us,’ he says lightly, and uses her elbow to steer her around to him.’
      • ‘‘Well that makes two of us… ‘Abby said as she stepped back over to Lindsey.’’
      • ‘Hey, that makes two of us.’
  • two by two (or two and two)

    • Side by side in pairs:

      ‘they came aboard two by two’
      • ‘The group didn't have a permit but had negotiated an agreement with the police to walk on the sidewalk, two by two.’
      • ‘However, Wednesday saw their triumphant return as staff and pupils walked happily two by two, in a symbolic gesture, back through the school gates.’
      • ‘The last day arrives too quickly and departing guests are whisked to the airport, two by two, like animals heading for the Ark.’
      • ‘When the tolling of the bell ceases, the monks file in two by two.’
      • ‘A couple of hundred protestors set off down the sidewalk, two by two, like a procession of obedient school-children on a class trip, attracting jeers from young anarchists as they passed.’
      • ‘They marched out in regular formation, peeling off two by two at each main street to patrol their beats on foot.’
      • ‘The rest of the team came swinging in, two by two.’
      • ‘Each of us had bought in the bazaar a tray of offerings for the deities within, and these we now clutched as, two by two, we were admitted into the interior.’
      • ‘And then there were the 40 or 50 lesser nuns following behind her, two by two, just like a parade of schoolchildren on a daytrip.’
      • ‘I lifted the garage door and they filed in two by two.’
  • two can play at that game

    • informal Used to assert that one is equally capable of copying another's strategy, to their disadvantage.

      • ‘Noise… Kemino blinked, a plan dawning in her mind as her lips twisted into a small smirk. ‘All right bad boy, two can play at that game.’’
      • ‘He did it again, and I got annoyed - two can play at that game.’
      • ‘Well, two can play at that game and I have recently stolen a copy off a friend of mine, and am loving it.’
      • ‘By showing that two can play at that game, he hoped to teach politicians a lesson about lying, demonstrating that what goes around can also come back around to bite you.’
      • ‘‘Well, two can play at that game… ‘muttered Emerald.’’
      • ‘Her mind was made up; Fang was definitely cheating on her with Jenna. ‘Well, two can play at that game.’’
      • ‘But two can play at that game, and they also hinted, quite forcefully, at legal action based on the Human Rights Act.’
  • two cents (or two cents' worth)

    • informal An unsolicited opinion:

      ‘Mom got her two cents in’
      • ‘My own two cents' worth: more automation in the handling of clinical language will be a huge win, given the amount of text out there, to say nothing of the medical research literature.’
      • ‘I should have known to read everything he wrote on the subject before adding my own two cents.’
      • ‘I'm sure all the Trekkie bloggers are covering it just fine without my two cents.’
      • ‘Since these albums have been successful, everybody wants to put their two cents worth in, you know.’
      • ‘Since the survey in question originated from my hands at the keyboard, I'd like to add my two cents.’
      • ‘This is the best way to determine whether your friend wants your two cents or just needs to talk it out.’
      • ‘He asks for a discussion on the subject and I'm more than willing to throw my two cents in.’
      • ‘Having read through the seven articles in the latest DipWorld, I now feel a strange compulsion to submit my own two cents' worth.’
      • ‘At that point, a much older waitress chimes in with her two cents on the campaign.’
      • ‘If anyone with time to kill wants to scope it out and give me their two cents, I'm listening.’
  • two's company, three's a crowd

    • Two people, especially lovers, should be left alone together.

      • ‘Immortality is like the little brother tagging along when his big sister goes for a drive with a date, a light comedy motif in the movies of the forties, the erotic variant of two's company, three's a crowd.’
  • two heads are better than one

    • proverb It's helpful to have the advice or opinion of a second person.

      • ‘Only time will tell if it was the correct route to follow, but the old adage that two heads are better than one will hopefully augment our own individual attributes.’
      • ‘Not to oversimplify a complicated matter, but two heads are better than one.’
      • ‘We only knew that now we'd be facing it together and two heads are better than one.’
      • ‘And Maitland clearly believes that two heads are better than one.’
      • ‘As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one.’
      • ‘‘People are realising that two heads are better than one,’ says Hill.’
      • ‘It only stands to reason that two heads are better than one…’
      • ‘There is no doubt that when starting a business two heads are better than one.’
      • ‘Although I have been vested with the power to decide whom I want to elect as my leader, there is no harm in getting other people's opinion; after all two heads are better than one!’
      • ‘You know what they say: two heads are better than one.’


Old English twā (feminine and neuter) of Germanic origin; related to Dutch twee and German zwei, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin and Greek duo. Compare with twain.