# a dozen = a lot of / twelve

#### sb70012

##### Senior Member
Hello,

I have checked the meaning of the word dozen in the dictionaries.

I have a dozen eggs. ===> self-made

In my self made example it means [a lot of] or [twelve]?

Thank you

• #### 1day1topic

##### New Member
it's twelve only.
I have a dozen eggs - > I have 12 eggs only and no more

#### sb70012

##### Senior Member
You know why I asked this question? Because Longman dictionary says that [a dozen] sometimes can have the meaning of
[a lot of]. For example:

I've heard this story a dozen times before. (a lot of)

That's why I asked this question.

#### Egmont

##### Senior Member
Eggs are usually sold (at least in the U.S.) by the dozen. The standard container of eggs one buys in stores holds twelve eggs. Therefore, when you refer to eggs, people will assume that you mean exactly that many. That would also apply to other items that are usually sold in units of 12.

Stories are not repeated in standard units of twelve repetitions. Therefore, when you refer to stories, people will assume that it means "many." Perhaps, if you had counted the number of times you have heard that story, it would be only 9 - or perhaps it would be 20. The point is that you have heard it more times than you can count precisely, and you do not want to hear it again.

#### sb70012

##### Senior Member
Eggs are usually sold (at least in the U.S.) by the dozen. The standard container of eggs one buys in stores holds twelve eggs. Therefore, when you refer to eggs, people will assume that you mean exactly that many. That would also apply to other items that are usually sold in units of 12.

Stories are not repeated in standard units of twelve repetitions. Therefore, when you refer to stories, people will assume that it means "many." Perhaps, if you had counted the number of times you have heard that story, it would be only 9 - or perhaps it would be 20. The point is that you have heard it more times than you can count precisely, and you do not want to hear it again.
Many thanks. Understood.

#### 1day1topic

##### New Member
I do agree with Egmont.

I have to dig a dozen of letters to find the one you need--> mean "many"

"dozen" in this sentence does not mean "a group or set of twelve."

Is that makes sense?

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#### Myridon

##### Senior Member
Letters do not come in groups of twelve. Eggs are sold by the dozen. Other food items might be sold by the dozen. Pens/pencils might be sold by the dozen.
("Dig" is not something one does to letters. "A dozen letters" not "a dozen of letters.")

#### Kirill V.

##### Senior Member
Hello!

I have a question about dozen and I thought I better added it to this old thread instead of creating a new one on a subject that seems to have been discussed many times before

I understand "dozen" means exactly 12 when people talk about items that usually go in dozens (like eggs, for example).

But when people talk about "a dozen" or "dozens" as an approximate number, do they still have in mind 12, or perhaps 10?

For example:
A: How many books does she have?
B: She has two dozens or so.

Is the number that B has in mind close to 24, or does "two dozens or so" rather mean "about 20"?

#### Glasguensis

##### Signal Modulation
I would expect someone using "dozen" in this way to have 12 in mind rather than 10. A couple of dozen to me is definitely more than 20 - say 20-30. If I wanted to use 10 as a base I would simply say "twenty or so".

#### VicNicSor

##### Banned
From Wikipedia, on "dozen": "In some situations, numbers roughly between 24 and 99 can be referred to by the "dozens of," as in "dozens of people called in sick" or "there are dozens of models to choose from". To some extent, "dozens of" and "tens of" are both interchangeable, though this depends on the objects described and the context. "Tens of" has only recently become widely used in publishing and academia and is becoming more common."

#### Andygc

##### Senior Member
We never* say "two dozens or so" in modern English. I agree with Glasguensis that "two dozen or so books" would mean a few more than twenty, not about twenty.

* I know, never say "never".

#### Andygc

##### Senior Member
From Wikipedia, on "dozen"
Vic, you left out a very important point.
"Tens of" has only recently become widely used in publishing and academia and is becoming more common. [citation needed]
The entry is the writer's opinion, and is not supported by evidence. "Tens of" sounds very odd to me and seems to be more likely a Frenchman talking English than a native English speaker.

#### Kirill V.

##### Senior Member
I would expect someone using "dozen" in this way to have 12 in mind rather than 10. A couple of dozen to me is definitely more than 20 - say 20-30. If I wanted to use 10 as a base I would simply say "twenty or so".
I see, thank you very much, everybody!
I was wondering whether domination of the decimal system might have affected the way people perceived "two dozen / few dozen / etc" in English. Now I understood dozen is 12 in people's minds.
And thanks for correcting me with the plural -s, Andy!

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