Definition of four in English:


cardinal number

  • 1Equivalent to the product of two and two; one more than three, or six less than ten; 4.

    ‘Francesca's got four brothers’
    ‘it took four of them to lift it’
    ‘a four-bedroom house’
    • ‘Born in Springfield, Ohio he grew up in a close-knit family with four brothers and sisters.’
    • ‘My twin brothers are four years younger than I and have known for several years that I am a Christian.’
    • ‘In a sense, the four pieces are equivalent; the rotations simply interchange them.’
    • ‘Frankly it's the only product out of the four we floated last week that you think has much merit.’
    • ‘On one road I met four brothers who were returning from carrying a woman to her relatives in a nearby village.’
    • ‘To supplement this income, Strakan is looking to buy three or four marketable products this year.’
    • ‘In an interview, Zhao said it took him a fortnight to produce the four portraits.’
    • ‘A little bit of history was made last Sunday when no fewer than four Lydon brothers were on the team.’
    • ‘The eldest of a family of eight, Karim has three brothers and four sisters, none of whom she had seen in that time.’
    • ‘We are four brothers in my family, but my father had an argument with my oldest brother and threw him out.’
    • ‘The interviewer then had to fill in a box giving the names of products one to four as given by the interviewee.’
    • ‘He was the youngest of four sisters and a brother, all of whom had left home by the time he was nine.’
    • ‘He said she had drunk the equivalent of four pints at the time of her death.’
    • ‘Here are four products that we plan to use to put money aside for our children in the years to come.’
    • ‘He was the registrar of Dhaka University and I had two brothers and four sisters.’
    • ‘He is survived by his brother Paddy and four sisters in England, to whom we offer our sympathies.’
    • ‘The four brothers and their wives are all well known for their deep love and care for the father.’
    • ‘That's equivalent to four pence on income tax - wait till you see the peace dividend from ending this war.’
    • ‘All her four brothers have left for the United States and are unlikely to return.’
    • ‘The sum of money is the equivalent of four or five month's wages for a fisherman in the area.’
    1. 1.1A group or unit of four people or things.
      ‘the girls walked in pairs or fours’
      • ‘At the start of this one, with Sutton banned, he started the first four.’
      • ‘Portlaoise face a very difficult task if they are to advance to the final four in this year's Town Cup.’
      • ‘They now have twelve points from their seven games, the same as Curry who also go through to the last four.’
      • ‘The league finishes off next week with a home game against New Ross and a win will see Clane finish in the top four.’
      • ‘And now they know their opponents in the last four after City finished top of the other northern group.’
      • ‘It was the insurance score his team needed and the final whistle confirmed their place in the last four.’
      • ‘Counting by fours is like counting by two except that every other count is skipped.’
      • ‘Eighteen teams started the tournament and Hacketstown were good enough to be in the last four.’
      • ‘Sign-up in Shenanigans in Pairs please, and try to join with another pair to make a four.’
      quartet, foursome, tetralogy, quadruplets
      quatrain, tetrastich
      quaternion, tetrad
      quaternary, quadrumvirate
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Four years old.
      ‘I began to teach myself to read at four’
      • ‘Manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline does not recommend giving the drug to children under the age of four.’
      • ‘At the age of four and five, he would often race against good horses getting a stone or more of an advantage and more often that not he beat them.’
      • ‘The spirit of Andrew was epitomised in a story about him at the age of four.’
      • ‘She added he had been fascinated by mathematics from the age of four.’
      • ‘Symone said she was quite gifted at the age of four, but she had a cornea transplant and wore glasses.’
      • ‘Padraig is as fast as they come and from the age of four has been consistently winning all over Ireland.’
      • ‘Getting him to sit down at story time proved impossible but by the age of four he was reading newspapers.’
      • ‘The money, if given, would fund the building of a new classroom, catering for children aged from three to four.’
      • ‘Chris Newman began to play the guitar at the age of four and at fourteen gave his first paid concert in a folk club.’
      • ‘At the age of four he was diagnosed as suffering from ‘severe and profound autism’.’
      • ‘Children in the age group of four to 13 years could try their hands at drawing and painting.’
      • ‘At the age of four, he went to a one-room nursery class attached to a private girls' school across the road from home.’
      • ‘Sally Beamish was born in London and could read and write music by the age of four.’
      • ‘She was introduced to the sport at the age of four by her parents Peter and Mary, who were members at Bothwell Castle.’
      • ‘He arrived in Britain from Nigeria in 1965 at the age of four when his parents came to study and build a new life here.’
      • ‘Born in Wurzburg, Germany, Stefan has studied the piano from the early age of four.’
      • ‘A total of fifteen salmon were caught by anglers ranging in age from four years to sixteen years.’
      • ‘All children from the surrounding areas are welcome, from ages one to four years.’
      • ‘Something like that happened when I read that no persons under four years of age are allowed to take part.’
      • ‘When he is told that he was adopted at the age of four, he realises that his spirit will not be at ease until he knows more about his parents.’
    3. 1.3Four o'clock.
      ‘it's half past four’
      • ‘If the match had kicked off at ten to four rather than three o'clock, we might have had a game on our hands at Ram Stadium.’
      • ‘At half past four she was relieved by a twelve year old Alty Grammar lad.’
      • ‘Can you tell that despite it being ten past four I haven't quite got round to eating breakfast yet?’
    4. 1.4A size of garment or other merchandise denoted by four.
      • ‘I would have done the same were I in her size fours.’
      • ‘Sean went back over to the rack where he saw the red gown and picked up a size four.’
    5. 1.5A playing card or domino with four spots or pips.
      • ‘So if three jacks are played, followed by two fours, followed by an ace cover card, then the play changes direction, three players are skipped, then that player must take eight cards.’
      • ‘Eights are transparent, change the direction of play and can be played on any card including a four.’
      • ‘Whichever player receives the four will be the winner of the match, and this comes down only to the luck of the deal.’
      • ‘Example: if the player before you makes the pile value 100, the only cards you can play are black aces, fours, red fives, tens, jacks, the Q and the kings.’
      • ‘If a four had turned up and you had a four in your hand, you would not be able to meld fours, because stealing the 4 would not leave a valid sequence.’
      • ‘Twos count 2, threes count 3, fours count 4, etc, and all the court cards count 10.’


Old English fēower, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German vier, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin quattuor and Greek tessares.