Middle English Dictionary Entry

twelve num.
Quotations: Show all Hide all

Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

Cardinal number as adj.: twelve, a dozen; ten other ~, about twelve (plows, yards of cloth, etc.); ten or ~ or twenti, between ten and twenty (foals); ten verse or ~, ten or twelve lines of verse;—with specif. ref. to a complaint of eleven lines.
In phrases: (a) ~ apostles (halwes, ifere), apostles (ministres) ~, the twelve apostles; ~ kinredes (linages), the twelve tribes of Israel; the twelve tribes of the Diaspora, Jewish Christians living in the Greco-Roman world [quot. c1400, 2nd]; the New Israel [quot. a1500(c1410)]; the ~ patriarkes and the ~ prophetes, the judges of the New Israel; ~ witen (bokes), the twelve minor prophets (prophetical books) of the Old Testament; (b) astron. & astrol. ~ signes, signes ~, the twelve 30-degree arcs of the zodiac [see Aries n., Capricorn n., etc.]; also, the zodiacal signs displayed on an astrolabe; also, in metonymy: the parts of the body governed by the particular signs of the zodiac [last quot.]; (c) ~ daies, twelve days; the twelve days of Christmas; also, used adverbially: for a period of twelve days; ~ daies in criste-masse; ten other ~ daies, around twelve days; ~ houres of the dai, the twelve hours of daylight; ~ mones (lunaciounes), twelve lunar cycles or months, a lunar year; also, a period of twelve months, one calendar year [quot. a1425; cp. mon(e n.(1) 2.(c)]; ~ monthes, monthes ~, a period of twelve months, one calendar year; ~ yer, twelve years; also, used adverbially: for a period of twelve years; (d) ~ times, used adverbially: twelve times; bi ~ times, twelve times; two sithes ~, two times twelve (men), twenty-four; (e) ~ a mile abouten, twelve miles in circumference.
In cpds. and combs.: (a) ~ hinde, a rank of person whose wergild was twelve hundred shillings; (b) ~ penies, twelve pennies, a shilling; also, a paltry amount of money [last quot.]; ~ penies iwighte (weghte), the weight of twelve pennies, a twelve-pennyweight; (c) ~ yer olde (of age), of ~ winter age (elde), twelve years old; ~ yer space, a period of twelve years.
Cardinal number as noun: (a) twelve men, twelve apostles, twelve years, twelve veins, etc.; mo than ~, in litotes: a large number; ten or ~, around a dozen apples; ten ne ~, a few; (b) in (o, on) ~, into twelve parts; bi ~, in groups of twelve; a ten or ~, ten other a ~, a group of about a dozen women; (c) queste of ~, the body of persons serving at an inquest or a trial, a jury; (d) nin (elleven) for ~, excessive interest (seventy-five percent or higher); (e) hunt. a hert even of ~, a deer with three clusters of four tines each at the summit of its antlers; (f) twelve as an abstract number; also, as adv.: twelve times [last quot.].
In compound numbers: (a) ~ hundred (thousand), ~ score; (b) ~ and sixti (twein), thre score and ~.
Ordinal number: (a) as adj.: twelfth; ~ dai, the twelfth day after Christmas (January 6), Epiphany; ~ month, the twelfth month of the Hebrew Calendar, Adar; ~ night, the evening before the Epiphany, Twelfth Night; (b) as noun: the twelfth pope, the twelfth king in descent from Woden, etc.; also, mus. the interval between two notes twelve steps apart on the diatonic scale, a twelfth note.
In surnames and place name.