From Middle English centurie (“a count of one hundred (of anything); a division of the Roman army; century; a division of land”), from Old French centurie, from Latin centuria, from centum (“one hundred”). The modern use is derived from a shortening of century of years.
century (plural centuries)
- A period of 100 consecutive years; often specifically a numbered period with conventional start and end dates, e.g., the twentieth century, which stretches from (strictly) 1901 through 2000, or (informally) 1900 through 1999. The first century AD was from 1 to 100; a yearhundred.
1963, Margery Allingham, “Foreword”, in The China Governess:
- He stood transfixed before the unaccustomed view of London at night time, a vast panorama which reminded him […] of some wood engravings far off and magical, in a printshop in his childhood. They dated from the previous century and were coarsely printed on tinted paper, with tinsel outlining the design.
2013 July 20, “The attack of the MOOCs”, The Economist, volume 408, number 8845:
- Since the launch early last year of […] two Silicon Valley start-ups offering free education through MOOCs, massive open online courses, the ivory towers of academia have been shaken to their foundations. University brands built in some cases over centuries have been forced to contemplate the possibility that information technology will rapidly make their existing business model obsolete.
- A unit in ancient Roman army, originally of 100 army soldiers as part of a cohort, later of more varied sizes (but typically containing 60 to 70 or 80) soldiers or other men (guards, police, firemen), commanded by a centurion.
- A political division of ancient Rome, meeting in the Centuriate Assembly.
- (archaic) A hundred things; a hundred.
- (cricket) A hundred runs scored either by a single player in one innings, or by two players in a partnership.
- (cycling) A ride 100 kilometres in length.
- (US, informal) A banknote in the denomination of one hundred dollars.
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