a cardinal number, ten plus six.
a symbol for this number, as 16 or XVI.
a set of this many persons or things.
amounting to 16 in number.

before 900; Middle English, Old English sixtēne; cognate with Dutch zestien, German sechzehn, Old Norse sextān. See six, -teen Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
sixteen (ˈsɪksˈtiːn)
1.  See also number the cardinal number that is the sum of ten and six
2.  a numeral, 16, XVI, etc, representing this number
3.  music the numeral 16 used as the lower figure of a time signature to indicate that the beat is measured in semiquavers
4.  something represented by, representing, or consisting of 16 units
5.  a.  amounting to sixteen: sixteen tons
 b.  (as pronoun): sixteen are known to the police
[Old English sextyne]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. sixtyne, from siex (see six) + teen (q.v.). Cf. O.Fris. sextine, M.Du. sestien, O.N. sextan.
"The age of the gods is always sixteen. Sixteen represents the number of perfection, of plenitude. In man it is after the sixteenth year that the first elements of decay begin to appear, and when the moon reaches the sixteenth digit it begins to decrease." [Alain Daniélou, "The Myths and Gods of India"]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Sixteen holes filled with dynamite formed a blast pattern that loosened a chunk
  of copper ore to be transported to the surface.
Sixteen mummies still had identifiable hearts or arteries.
Sixteen had suffered some form of intestinal bleeding, and three had undergone
  surgery to repair injuries to their necks.
Not only has the sea level not fallen but has risen over the past sixteen years.
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