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English numbers
 <  11 12 13  > 
    Cardinal : twelve
    Ordinal : twelfth
    Multiplier : twelvefold
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Alternative forms[edit]

  • Arabic numerals: 12
  • Roman numerals: XII


From Middle English twelve, from Old English twelf (twelve), from Proto-Germanic *twalif, an old compound of *twa- (two) and *-lif (left over), from Proto-Indo-European *leykʷ- (leave, remain). Cognate with Saterland Frisian tweelf, tweelif, tweelich (twelve), West Frisian tolve (twelve), Dutch twaalf (twelve), German Low German twalf, twalv (twelve), German zwölf (twelve), Danish tolf (twelve), Swedish and Norwegian tolv (twelve), Icelandic tólf (twelve).




  1. The cardinal number occurring after eleven and before thirteen, represented in Arabic numerals as 12 and in Roman numerals as XII.
    There are twelve months in a year.

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twelve (plural twelves)

  1. A group of twelve items.
    Fractions would be a little easier if we counted by twelves.
  2. A twelve-bore gun.
    • 1982, Lawrence Durrell, Constance, Faber & Faber 2004 (Avignon Quintet), page 880:
      In this way Von Esslin ‘inherited’ two fine hammerless twelves which he used once or twice for duck on the Camargue.
  3. (law, colloquial) A jury (normally composed of twelve persons).

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Most common English words before 1923 in Project Gutenberg: consider · provided · Rome · #970: twelve · opposite · vast · isn't