Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 4 weeks ago

# when does the word "a dozen" mean?

Hi,

I know that a dozen mean 12, and it also can mean many, so I'm asking native speakers, How do you many if it means 12 specifically or if it means many "not specific number, or do you just understand it from the context?

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• John
Lv 7
3 weeks ago

Everybody is telling that it is 12, which is certainly true. There is a fuzzy place, though. "I went to a party and there were around a dozen people there" If you said 12 it would mean you counted them. Saying around/about a dozen means that it could have been 11 or 13, but it was about a dozen.

• 3 weeks ago

A dozen does not mean "many." It means 12 and occasionally it's used to mean "it looks like 12 items to me  but  may be one or two more or less.

I think you're thinking of "dozens." "I have dozens of friends" means "I have many friends."

• 4 weeks ago

It means a lot or 12. We don’t say “12 eggs”, it’s “a dozen/carton of eggs”. Examples:

Meaning 12:

“I need a dozen eggs from Coles” means “I need 12 eggs from Coles”

Meaning heaps:

“There’s a dozen magpies!” means “There’s lots of magpies!”

‘Dozen’ as in lots is not used very often. It usually means 12. A ‘couple’ is more used for lots. Couple can mean 2, lots or two partners (especially those over 18)

• ?
Lv 7
4 weeks ago

You have to look at the context.  He baked a dozen loaves of bread means 12 loaves.  There were dozens pf people in the crowd singing means an uncountable number.

• 4 weeks ago

A dozen means "a dozen", which means twelve.

• John P
Lv 7
4 weeks ago

You have to understand from context.

I buy half a dozen or a dozen eggs because they come in boxes of 6 or 12.

The other day in my garden (yard - USA) I cut dozens and dozens of branches off an overgrown rosemary bush.

Dozen (singular) is not always exactly 12.   At some stage in the winter I look in my box of matches and think: "There's only a dozen left, I had better buy some more." I do not count that 'dozen' exactly.

• 4 weeks ago

"Dozen" always means 12 except in the plural. If you are describing a lot of things you might say there were thousands of them, hundreds of them or dozens of them depending on the approximate number. The logical word to use in these circumstances would be "tens" but people seldom use that. It is always dozens.

• Tangi
Lv 7
4 weeks ago

If that can help you, the word "dozen" in English comes from the French "douzaine" made from "douze" (12) and the ending -aine which modifies the number to mean "about".

The approximative meaning of the word was also borrowed into English, so a dozen is about twelve. But since English only borrowed "dozen" and not "dizaine", "quinzaine" or "vingtaine", it only has one such approximate word and therefore it can have a wider range of approximation than its original French counterpart. Meaning a dozen could actually be about 20 or more depending on the context.

• Speed
Lv 7
4 weeks ago

"A dozen" means exactly 12 in contexts where the items in question are easily counted. Not 11, not 13 (a "baker's dozen," because if you bought 12 items they'd give you an extra for free). So I can have a dozen pairs of shoes, a dozen books in my backpack, a dozen kinds of cologne, a dozen CDs.

When "a dozen" is use for uncountable or not easily counted items, especially things that are not physical, it can be less specific and mean "quite a few." I could give you a dozen reasons not to drive drunk. I know a dozen people who could do this job better than you. When I ask him why the work isn't done, he's got a dozen excuses.

When you use the plural form, dozens, it simply means lots of something, not a specific count. Dozens of birds visit my feeder. Dozens of kids can't get their school lockers open the first day. Dozens of beer cans littered the beach.

• BJJ
Lv 7
4 weeks ago

A bakers dozen is 13