Definition of dozen in English:

dozen

(also dz.)

noun

  • 1dozensA group or set of twelve.

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    • ‘For every published writer out there there are at least a dozen unpublished who could be.’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

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

/ˈdəzən//ˈdəzən/