(Old English) twelve, twelf, (Anglo-Saxon) twelf; akin to (Old Frisian) twelf, twelef, twilif, (Old Saxon) twelif, (Dutch) twaalf, German zwölf, (Old High German) zwelif, (Icelandic) t, (Swedish) tolf, (Danish) tolv, (Gothic) twalif, from the root of (English) two + the same element as in the second part of (English) eleven. See Two, and Eleven.
One more that eleven; two and ten; twice six; a dozen. Twelve- men's morris. See the Note under Morris. -- Twelve Tables. ((Roman) Aniquities) See Table.
1. The number next following eleven; the sum of ten and two, or of twice six; twelve units or objects; a dozen.2. A symbol representing twelve units, as 12, or xii. The Twelve (Scripture), the twelve apostles. Matthew xxvi. 20.
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From Middle English, from Old English twelf, from Proto-Germanic *twalif, an old compound of *twa- (“two”) and *-lif (“left over”), from Proto-Indo-European *leikw- (“leave, remain”). Compare West Frisian tolve, Dutch twaalf, German zwölf, Danish tolf, Norwegian tolv.
twelve (plural twelves) A group of twelve items. Fractions would be a little easier if we counted by twelves. A twelve-bore gun. 1982, Lawrence Durrell, Constance, Faber & Faber 2004 (Avignon Quintet), p. 880: In this way Von Esslin ‘inherited’ two fine hammerless twelves which he used once or twice for duck on the Camargue.
Numeral twelve The cardinal number occurring after eleven and before thirteen, represented in Arabic numerals as 12 and in Roman numerals as XII. There are twelve months in a year.
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