baker's dozen

noun
a group of 13; a dozen plus one: from the former practice among bakers and other tradespeople of giving 13 items to the dozen as a safeguard against penalties for short weights and measures.

Origin:
1590–1600

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World English Dictionary
baker's dozen
 
n
thirteen
 
[C16: from the bakers' former practice of giving thirteen rolls where twelve were requested, to protect themselves against accusations of giving light weight]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

baker's dozen definition


Thirteen; bakers once provided an extra roll with every dozen sold.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

baker's dozen

Thirteen, as in The new bagel store always gives you a baker's dozen. The origins of this term are disputed. One theory is that in times when bread was sold by weight, bakers who short-weighted their customers were heavily fined, and for safety's sake they would sell thirteen loaves for the price of twelve. Another theory is that dealers purchasing bread from bakers were allowed by law to receive thirteen loaves for the price of twelve, the thirteenth representing their cut of profit. [Late 1500s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
So the three of us split a baker's dozen, two egg sandwiches, and five coffees.
He's in tremendous shape to extend it to a baker's dozen after sinking eight
  birdies today.
You'd think they'd throw in a jelly donut there and make it a baker's dozen,
  but times are tight.
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