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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Jan 09, 2007 12:28 am

• dozen •

Pronunciation: dê-zên • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A group of twelve. 2. A large unspecified number.

Notes: So what could be interesting about such a common word? Well, did you know you could abbreviate it two different ways: doz. or dz? We all know that the ordinal variant is dozenth ("This is the dozenth time I've told you!") However, did you know that dozenal is sometimes used in mathematical circles instead of duodecimal referring to the base 12 numbering system? Few languages use a dozenal system for counting since we do not characteristically have 12 fingers, the origin of the decimal system. Still, many cultures do have dozenal systems for keeping track of time: 12 months in a year, 12-hour days, 12 zodiac signs.

In Play: Because it is not a regular cardinal number (like twelve), we have taken great liberties with the meaning of today's Good Word. A baker's dozen, of course, means 13 rather than 12. Bakers once gave their customers a lagniappe of an extra pastry to encourage their return. Dozen can also refer to an unspecified large number: "I can't understand why people think it is difficult to quit smoking; I've done it dozens of times" (taking shameful liberties with Mark Twain's famous claim).

Word History: Today's Good Word comes to us from Old French dozaine "dozen", douzaine in Modern French, the correlate of Spanish docena and Italian dozzina. All these words are descendants of Latin duodecim "twelve" based on duo "two" + decem "ten". Duo we use in English unadulterated referring to a set of two, as well as with the French suffix, -(e)t in duet, usually two musicians or a musical piece for two instruments. But the original PIE root for "two" turns up in a plethora of English words, almost anywhere you see [tw] togeher: twilight, between, twain, twin, and twig because one usually branches into two. (We owe dozens of bows to Mark Morath of State College, Pennsylvania for suggesting today's surprisingly interesting common word.)
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Postby Perry » Tue Jan 09, 2007 10:15 am

So I guess that twenty winks is a nap, but twelve winks is just dozen off.
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Lately it hasn't been working."

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Postby Stargzer » Wed Jan 10, 2007 11:38 pm

No one has yet mentioned the tradition of trading insults knows a The Dozens.

Yo' mama's so ugly, her mama had to tie a steak around her neck to get the dog to play with her.

Yo mama's so ugly, her shadow quit.

Yo mama's so ugly, when she looks in the mirror, the reflection ducks.

Yo mama's so ugly, even the tide won't take her out.

Yo mama was such an ugly baby, her parents had to feed her with a slingshot.

Yo mama's so stupid, she spent twenty minutes lookin' at an orange juice box because it said "concentrate".

Yo mama's so stupid, she put lipstick on her forehead because she wanted to makeup her mind.

Yo mama's so stupid, she saw a billboard that said "Dodge Trucks" and she started ducking through traffic.

Yo mama's so stupid, she uses Old Spice for cooking.

Yo mama's so stupid, it takes her 2 hours to watch 60 Minutes.

Yo mama's so fat, I had to take a train and two busses just to get on her good side.

Yo mama's so fat, her picture takes two frames.

Yo mama's so fat, when she gets in an elevator, it HAS to go down.

Yo mama's so fat, when she was diagnosed with the flesh eating disease, the doctor gave her 5 years to live.

Yo mama's so fat, when she was born, she didn't get a birth certificate, she got blue prints.

Yo mama's so fat, her blood type is Ragu.

Yo mama's so old, the key on Ben Franklin's kite was to her apartment.

Yo mama's so old, her memory is in black and white.

Yo mama's so old, her social security number is 1.

Yo mama's so old, her birth-certificate expired.

Yo mama's so old, she knew Mr. Clean when he had an afro.

Yo mama's so old, when she was in school there was no history class.

Yo mama's so old, when she reads the bible she reminisces.

Yo mama's so old, when she was born, the Dead Sea was just getting sick.

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
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