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[sen-chuh-ree] /ˈsɛn tʃə ri/
noun, plural centuries.
a period of 100 years.
one of the successive periods of 100 years reckoned forward or backward from a recognized chronological epoch, especially from the assumed date of the birth of Jesus.
any group or collection of 100:
a century of limericks.
(in the ancient Roman army) a company, consisting of approximately 100 men.
one of the voting divisions of the ancient Roman people, each division having one vote.
(initial capital letter) Printing. a style of type.
Slang. a hundred-dollar bill; 100 dollars.
Sports. a race of 100 yards or meters, as in track or swimming, or of 100 miles, as in bicycle racing.
Cricket. a score of at least 100 runs made by one batsman in a single inning.
1525-35; < Latin centuria unit made up of 100 parts, especially company of soldiers, equivalent to cent(um) 100 + -uria, perhaps extracted from decuria decury
Related forms
half-century, noun, plural half-centuries. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for centuries
  • Fluctuating star discovered four centuries ago still holds surprises for astronomers.
  • Ink stamps have been used to print text and pictures for centuries.
  • The belief that animals can predict earthquakes has been around for centuries.
  • Studies of landfills suggest they may take centuries to rot away.
  • For centuries experts held that every language is unique.
  • For centuries, the city's hulking official buildings served as reminders of the awesome power of the imperial state.
  • In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, his reputation also spread abroad.
  • The rebus form is centuries old, and has been used in various forms.
  • It was not until several centuries later that the prayers began to be formally fixed.
  • They were bred for centuries to think for themselves and to act upon their conclusions.
British Dictionary definitions for centuries


noun (pl) -ries
a period of 100 years
one of the successive periods of 100 years dated before or after an epoch or event, esp the birth of Christ
  1. a score or grouping of 100: to score a century in cricket
  2. (mainly US) (as modifier): the basketball team passed the century mark in their last game
(in ancient Rome) a unit of foot soldiers, originally 100 strong, later consisting of 60 to 80 men See also maniple
(in ancient Rome) a division of the people for purposes of voting
(often capital) a style of type
Word Origin
C16: from Latin centuria, from centum hundred
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for centuries



1530s, "one hundred (of anything)," from Latin centuria "group of one hundred" of things of one kind (including a measure of land and a division of the Roman army, one-sixteenth of a legion, headed by a centurion), from centum "hundred" (see hundred) on analogy of decuria "a company of ten."

Used in Middle English from late 14c. as a division of land, from Roman use. The Modern English meaning is attested from 1650s, short for century of years (1620s). The older, general sense is preserved in the meaning "score of 100 points" in cricket and some other sports. Related: Centurial.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for centuries



A hundred dollars: For two centuries a week I had me a bodyguard (1850s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with centuries


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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