he has a score of them

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Senior Member
"Why do you say this young man is so rich?" asked the countess, turning away from the girls, who at once assumed an air of inattention. "His children are all illegitimate. I think Pierre also is illegitimate."
The visitor made a gesture with her hand.
"I should think he has a score of them."
Princess Anna Mikhaylovna intervened

What does that in red mean?
Thank you.
  • JamesM

    Senior Member
    A score is a grouping of twenty. It means that the visitor thinks he probably has at least twenty illegitimate children.

    It's not as common in present-day American English, but many Americans are familiar with "score" from the opening line of the Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln:

    "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. "
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    American English
    I should think he has many illegitimate children.

    Although a score is 20, it can also be used for "many" in which we are given a clue as to how many. In that context, it is like "myriad," which means ten thousand but is used to mean "a great many."

    Edit: Late again... by several score seconds. :)
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