Word Origin & History
O.E. ten (Mercian), tien (W.Saxon), from P.Gmc. *tekhan (cf. O.S. tehan, O.N. tiu, Dan. ti, O.Fris. tian, O.Du. ten, Du. tien, O.H.G. zehan, Ger. zehn, Goth. taihun "ten"), from PIE *dekm (cf. Skt. dasa, Avestan dasa, Armenian tasn, Gk. deka, L. decem, O.C.S. deseti, Lith. desimt, O.Ir. deich, Bret.
dek, Welsh deg, Alb. djetu "ten"). Tenth is O.E. teoða, teogoða. Tenner "ten-pound note" is slang first recorded 1861; as "ten-dollar bill," 1887 (ten-spot in this sense dates from 1848). The ten-foot pole that you wouldn't touch something with (1909) was originally a 40-foot pole; the idea is the same as the advice to use a long spoon when you dine with the devil. Ten-four "I understand, message received," is attested in popular jargon from 1962, from use in CB and police radio 10-code (in use in U.S. by 1950).