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33673.  Wed Nov 23, 2005 3:59 am Reply with quote

The French equivalent, douzaine, can mean either "a dozen" or "about twelve", so if you say "une douzaine d'oeufs" it's not clear whether you mean exactly 12 eggs or somewhere around 12 eggs.

The suffix -aine denotes approximation with any number, so "une centaine" means "about 100".

On the subject of approximation: Mrs Gaazy keeps five sheep as lawnmowers. The Wool Marketing Board specifically prohibits owners with fewer than 6 sheep from registering them, on pain of punishment mediaeval in its severity, so she didn't.

However she kept getting shirty letters informing her that they knew she kept sheep and would she register them please. What to do?

The relevant box on the form asked: Approximately how many sheep do you have? So she answered: approximately six. Problem solved.

33687.  Wed Nov 23, 2005 4:49 am Reply with quote

Straying perilously into "39 things I was told at school" which there was supposed to be a thread for but it hasn't materialised yet.

I was told that douzaine was 'a twelves' worth' likewise with centaine*, ie as you say roughly 12 or roughly one hundred; thus comes the related idea of a bakers dozen, twelve loaves weight (cooked, minimum). Bread must loose water when it's baked surely?

Can I find anything in print or on the net to back this up? Can I f...

* hundredweight? That's actual grain measures originally though isn't it?

100lbs/108lbs at one time rather than the 112lbs imperial standard

2000lbs 'short ton'


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