Why do we say "tens of thousands"?


New Member
People say many by using the phrase "tens of thousands." Why? Is there any story or information behind it? Thanks.
  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Welcome to the forums, Chrischu.

    No, "tens of thousands" doesn't mean "many", Chrischu. It means thousands above 10,000. For example, if you said "My vehicle is worth tens of thousands", I would know that its value is anywhere between $10,000.00 and $99,999.00. 100,000 to 999,999 would be "hundreds of thousands". Anything under 10,000 would be "thousands".


    I think also that it is used because we don't have a particular word for this quantity - and it implies a wide rage of potential quantity.

    "There were tens of thousands at the concert"
    Had we a word, as the metric system has, for this quantity we probably wouldn't use it. I don't think that that sentence's meaning would be the same if we said "There were decathousands at the concert" —> it just doesn't have the sense of slight exaggeration which the other has.