three score and ten

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From the Bible, Psalm 90, verse 10: "The days of our years are three score and ten."

Noun[edit]

three score and ten

  1. (somewhat dated, idiomatic) Seventy, being the number of years in a full lifetime of traditionally-expected duration.
    • 1845, James Fenimore Cooper, chapter 30, in Satanstoe:
      As for old Capt. Hugh Roger, three-score-and-ten had exhausted his fluids, pretty much; but he shook me heartily by the hand.
    • 1894, George Bernard Shaw, Mrs. Warren's Profession, act 4:
      Frank: And he won't die until he's three score and ten: he hasn't originality enough.
    • 1911, Bram Stoker, chapter 16, in The Lair of the White Worm:
      "[H]e had over-stayed his three-score and ten years by something like twenty years. He must have been ninety!"
    • 1942 March 30, "Big Red's 25th," Time (retrieved 18 July 2015):
      If ever a U.S. horse attains the immortality of Bellerophon's Pegasus or Don Quixote's Rosinante, surely it will be Samuel D. Riddle's Man o' War. This Sunday, at Faraway Farm in Lexington, Ky., "Big Red" reaches the grand old age of 25—an age comparable to three-score and ten for a man.
    • 2008 July 4, Hannah Kuchler, "The 5-minute Interview: Wayne Hemingway, Designer ," The Independent (UK) (retrieved 18 July 2015):
      In a nutshell, my philosophy is this: You only get three score and ten so make the most of it.
    • 1843 Charles Dickens Martin Chuzzlewit, chapter 11.
      "Why, a man with any feeling ought to be ashamed of being eighty, let alone more. Where’s his religion, I should like to know, when he goes flying in the face of the Bible like that? Threescore-and-ten’s the mark, and no man with a conscience, and a proper sense of what’s expected of him, has any business to live longer."