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From Middle English twelmonth, twelfmonthe, twelfmonþe, from Old English twelfmōnþ, twelfmōnaþ, equivalent to twelve +‎ month.



twelvemonth (plural twelvemonths)

  1. (dated) A year.
    • 1811, [Jane Austen], chapter IX, in Sense and Sensibility [], volume II, London: [] C[harles] Roworth, [], and published by T[homas] Egerton, [], →OCLC, page 169:
      But last February, almost a twelvemonth back, she suddenly disappeared.
    • 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter XX, in Francesca Carrara. [], volume III, London: Richard Bentley, [], (successor to Henry Colburn), →OCLC, page 166:
      Take the annals of the majority of hearths for a twelvemonth, and we should be amazed at the quantity of wretchedness that would be writ in them, if writ truly.
    • 1851 November 14, Herman Melville, “Moby Dick”, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, →OCLC, page 196:
      For, owing to the large number of whale-cruisers; the disorderly way they were sprinkled over the entire watery circumference, many of them adventurously pushing their quest along solitary latitudes, so as seldom or never for a whole twelvemonth or more on a stretch, to encounter a single news-telling sail of any sort; []
    • 1861 December, “Autobiography of a Navvy”, in David Masson, editor, Macmillan’s Magazine, volume V, number 26, Cambridge, Cambs., London: Macmillan and Co. [], published 1862, chapter VII (Our Last Tramp), page 151, column 2:
      She was ill very nigh a twelvemonth altogether; and I had to nurse her as best as I could, and clean the house, and cook, and make her gruel and everything, for we could not afford to pay a woman to help us.
    • 1896, A[lfred] E[dward] Housman, “[Poem] XXV”, in A Shropshire Lad, New York, N.Y.: John Lane Company, The Bodley Head, published 1906, →OCLC, stanza 1, page 36:
      The time of year a twelvemonth past, / When Fred and I would meet, / We needs must jangle, till at last / We fought and I was beat.
    • 1937, H[enry] S[tanley] Bennett, “The Peasant’s Year”, in Life on the English Manor: A Study of Peasant Conditions, 1150-1400 (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought), Cambridge, Cambs.: At the University Press, published 1938, page 84:
      Then they were moved away from the field that had stood fallow for a twelvemonth and there a third and last ploughing preluded the planting of the wheat and other seed for the coming year.

Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^ Twelvemonth” in John Walker, A Critical Pronouncing Dictionary [] , London: Sold by G. G. J. and J. Robinſon, Paternoſter Row; and T. Cadell, in the Strand, 1791, →OCLC, page 519.