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[twen-tee, twuhn-] /ˈtwɛn ti, ˈtwʌn-/
noun, plural twenties.
a cardinal number, 10 times 2.
a symbol for this number, as 20 or XX.
a set of this many persons or things.
Informal. a twenty-dollar bill:
Can you give me two tens for a twenty?
twenties, the numbers, years, degrees, or the like, from 20 through 29, as in referring to numbered streets, indicating the years of a lifetime or of a century, or referring to degrees of temperature:
He lives in the West Twenties. She's in her early twenties. The temperature must be in the high twenties today.
amounting to 20 in number.
Origin of twenty
before 900; Middle English; Old English twēntig; cognate with Old Frisian tw(e)intich, Old High German zweinzug (German zwanzig), Gothic twai tigjus two tens Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for twenty
  • Chapter twelve summary ransom walked back twenty paces into the wood and found his enemy.
  • twenty people, with wounds of varying degree, lay on the sidewalk and on the street.
  • The twenty six volumes of the work soon improved his business.
  • It finally entered service over twenty years after first being studied.
  • He has also composed twenty two other very impressive scriptures on various subjects.
  • Following this opposition, the play was cut by twenty minutes.
  • A labour force of twenty thousand workers was recruited across northern india.
  • Ing offers twenty mutual funds, each of which has a particular investment strategy.
  • At least twenty such adventures were published by flying buffalo.
  • Each monk must serve for at least twenty years to be named to these highest levels.
British Dictionary definitions for twenty


noun (pl) -ties
the cardinal number that is the product of ten and two; a score See also number (sense 1)
a numeral, 20, XX, etc, representing this number
something representing, represented by, or consisting of 20 units
  1. amounting to twenty: twenty questions
  2. (as pronoun): to order twenty
adjectives vicenary vigesimal prefix icosa-
Word Origin
Old English twēntig; related to Old High German zweinzug, German zwanzig
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 twenty

Old English twentig "group of twenty," from twegen "two" (see two) + -tig "group of ten" (see -ty (1)). Cognate with Old Frisian twintich, Dutch twintig, Old High German zweinzug, German zwanzig. Gothic twai tigjus is even more transparent: literally "two tens."

The card game twenty-one (1790) is from French vingt-et-un (1781). Twenty-twenty hindsight is first recorded 1962, a figurative use of the Snellen fraction for normal visual acuity, expressed in feet. The guessing game of twenty questions is recorded from 1786. The Twentieth Century Limited was an express train from New York to Chicago 1902-1967.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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