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dozen1

[duhz-uh n] /ˈdʌz ən/
noun, plural dozens (as after a numeral) dozen.
1.
a group of 12.
2.
the dozens, Slang. a ritualized game typically engaged in by two persons each of whom attempts to outdo the other in insults directed against members of the other's family (usually used in the phrase play the dozens).
adjective
3.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English dozeine < Old French do(u)zaine, equivalent to do(u)ze (< Latin duodecim) + -aine (< Latin -āna) -an
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for the dozens

dozen

/ˈdʌzən/
determiner
1.
preceded by a or a numeral
  1. twelve or a group of twelve: a dozen eggs, two dozen oranges
  2. (as pronoun; functioning as sing or plural): give me a dozen, there are at least a dozen who haven't arrived yet
noun (pl) dozens, dozen
2.
by the dozen, in large quantities
3.
4.
talk nineteen to the dozen, to talk without stopping
See also dozens
Derived Forms
dozenth, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French douzaine, from douze twelve, from Latin duodecim, from duo two + decem ten
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 the dozens

dozen

n.

c.1300, from Old French dozaine "a dozen," from doze (12c.) "twelve," from Latin duodecim "twelve," from duo "two" + decem "ten" (see ten).

The Old French fem. suffix -aine is characteristically added to cardinals to form collectives in a precise sense ("exactly 12," not "about 12"). The dozens "invective contest" (1928) originated in slave culture, the custom probably African, the word probably from bulldoze (q.v.) in its original sense of "a whipping, a thrashing."

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

dozen

Related Terms

a dime a dozen


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