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[twelv] /twɛlv/
a cardinal number, 10 plus 2.
a symbol for this number, as 12 or XII.
a set of this many persons or things.
the Twelve, the 12 apostles chosen by Christ.
amounting to 12 in number.
Origin of twelve
before 900; Middle English twelve, inflected form of twelf, Old English twelfe literally, (ten and) two leave, i.e., two left over; cognate with Old Frisian twelef, twelf, Old High German zwelif, Old Norse tōlf, Gothic twalif; compare Lithuanian dvýlika; see two, leave1, eleven Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for twelve
  • Chapter twelve summary ransom walked back twenty paces into the wood and found his enemy.
  • They took about twelve days to build depending on how big the structure was going to be.
  • They followed immediately after the twelve voting members of the signature in capella.
  • He was the oldest of twelve children, seven of whom reached adulthood.
  • The church had been without a head for twelve months all but a day.
  • Many astrologers believe that each of the twelve signs has identifiable physical traits.
  • The result was two losses, one draw, and twelve victories for the judo students.
  • Outside of the twelve conclusions, the lollards had many beliefs and traditions.
  • Over the course of the next sixty years some twelve or more individuals followed him.
  • Wet sponges were used to cool the pieces every ten or twelve rounds.
British Dictionary definitions for twelve


the cardinal number that is the sum of ten and two See also number (sense 1)
a numeral, 12, XII, etc, representing this number
something represented by, representing, or consisting of 12 units
Also called twelve o'clock. noon or midnight
  1. amounting to twelve: twelve loaves
  2. (as pronoun): twelve have arrived See also dozen related adjective duodecimal related prefix dodeca-
Word Origin
Old English twelf; related to Old Frisian twelif, Old High German zwelif, Old Norse tolf, Gothic twalif
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for twelve

Old English twelf, literally "two left" (over ten), from Proto-Germanic *twa-lif-, a compound of the root of two + *lif-, root of the verb leave (see eleven). Cf. Old Saxon twelif, Old Norse tolf, Old Frisian twelef, Middle Dutch twalef, Dutch twaalf, Old High German zwelif, German zwölf, Gothic twalif. Outside Germanic, an analogous formation is Lithuanian dvylika, with second element -lika "left over."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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