21

In my language (Ukrainian), there are special words describing amounts between 11 and 19. They are constructed in a similar way as the numerals, but do not specify the numeral itself:

Це коштує надцять тисяч ("this costs over-teen thousand" — meaning, "too expensive")
Я вдома вже кільканадцять хвилин ("I'm at home a few-over-teen minutes already");

Is there a special name for amount between 11 and 19 in English? The reason why I'm asking is that I'm thinking in these categories, and I don't want to use less-specific words if there's a better term for it.

I know that a person of that age is called a teenager. But I haven't heard the word teens to describe amount. I've also heard a dozen, which literally means 12, but I have the impression that it is sometimes used to say about 12.

Am I right, and are there other words describing such amount?

  • 2
    Teens can be used to describe amounts, although it's not commonly used. – Squazic Jan 25 '13 at 18:57
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    I my language there's special word for such amount, so I feel need to know it in English – Danubian Sailor Jan 25 '13 at 19:00
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    Actually, a teenager is a person having an age between 13 and 19 years. (All those numbers end in -teen, such as thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen.) – kiamlaluno Jan 25 '13 at 19:14
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    Can you provide an example where you would use such a word? That might make it easier to provide an answer. – Flimzy Jan 25 '13 at 19:29
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    RE: "In my language there's special word for such amount, so I feel need to know it in English." I think this question may have fared better had you mentioned that fact when you originally asked the question. I can't speak for everyone here, but, at least for me, this question became more interesting once that fact was revealed. – J.R. Jan 26 '13 at 10:20
17

English does not have a word referring to this range specifically. Different languages divide up the world differently - this is one of those cases where the languages don't have equivalent terms.

The word teen or teens is close, but it has two limitations:

  1. "Teen" refers only to 13 - 19; it cannot refer to 11 or 12. Recently, the term "tween" has been coined to refer to the ages 10-12 for this very reason.
  2. "Teen" is most often found in reference to abstract ranges such as ages, years, temperatures and the like. So while we might refer to a "temperature in the teens" to mean a temperature between 13 - 19 (C or F), it's less common to refer to use it with concrete objects. It would be unusual or even wrong to say "I have teens of apples".

Since there is no specific term, you should instead use constructions such as:

  • Eleven to nineteen
  • In the low two digits
  • About 15, 15 or so, around 15, 15 give or take...
  • More than ten but less than twenty
  • Ten-something (I think this is more understandable and common than the alternative 'tensomething')
  • There is a slang term that is close to the meaning and usage, but its use may be marked in certain contexts and it is informal: umpteen; "It'll cost umpteen thousand dollars."
  • Or finally, reword your statement to avoid the situation
  • 2
    According to Merriam Webster, "umpteen" is not a slang and in fact means "indefinitely numerous" and I have seen this term used in those contexts only, in the rare occasions that I have. Then, how is it "very close to the meaning and usage"? merriam-webster.com/dictionary/umpteen – Mohit Jan 28 '13 at 14:39
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    As Mohit said, umpteen actually means "some uncounted/unspecified but very large number". I can't think of a context where a number between 11 and 19 would be large enough to qualify as umpteen. – Martha Jan 28 '13 at 15:04
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    @Mohit I am merely giving another suggestion that the OP might want to consider, since надцять is also used in the sense "indefinitely numerous". Merriam-Webster's online dictionary might not mark it as 'slang', but the OED does mark it as "colloq. An indefinite number, used in the sense ‘many, several’, etc." It is not appropriate for formal contexts. By the way, one does not say "a slang" in English when referring to a single word. One says it is "a slang word" or simply "slang". – Mark Beadles Jan 28 '13 at 17:03
  • @Martha Based on your and Mohit's objection I have moved "umpteen" into the list of other suggestions and removed the word "very". I didn't mean to imply it was any better than the other suggestions; it's just that I thought of it later. :) – Mark Beadles Jan 28 '13 at 17:05
10

I don't think there's a word in English that means between 10 and 20. You might as well say "somewhere between 10 and 20", or, if that's too long, you might try "15, give or take."

One set of terms that has come into vogue relatively recently includes words like thirtysomething or fortysomething, which were initially used to describe a person's age, but I suppose those words could be borrowed to describe an amount as well, such as, "We caught twentysomething fish last weekend." However, this would be considered an informal and unconventional use of such terms; when such words are included in the dictionary, there is often explicit mention of age.

At least in the U.S., the term thirtysomething entered the mainstream vernacular along with a hit television series by the same name. Used conversationally, I don't think many people would bat an eye when hearing such words, but the words are far from officially established.

So, I wondered if one might use "tensomething" to go along with twentysomething, thirtysomething, etc. However, there don't seem to be any instances of that word in published works. When I Googled "tensomething," the first tensomething hits were twitter handles and message board names, but, sifting through those results further, I did manage to find a few uses of the word, mostly by bloggers who were referring to someone of that age, like these:

I love the spice girls, they totally rocked my world when I was tensomething.

There he was, this geeky, gawky little tensomething wandering dazed and confused around his native North Carolina, with half his head full of Boz Scaggs and Eric Carmen...

although I did find one person who used the word in the sense you are looking for:

This has happened to meh liek tensomething tiems. [sic]

So, if you want to follow the lead of one careless typist, you have your precedent. Use tensomething. However, don't expect much support from the dictionaries at this time.

  • 3
    One thing, someone who talks like this: "ohai guys, I just gave this nub admin and he liek, tutolay just banned evaryone that came 2 mah servur and cleared all my bricks. This has happened to meh liek tensomething tiems." Might be a bad source ;) – Mark Robinson Jan 26 '13 at 0:14
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    @MarkRobinson: I completely agree, which is why I emphasized the fact this person was a "careless typist," and provided a link to the source, so that everyone here could make their own judgement. After all, there's got to be at least tensomething errors in the two sentences you've quoted. ;^) – J.R. Jan 26 '13 at 9:13
  • Yes, tensomething seems to be the ideal word, it is even created by the same rules as in my language :) – Danubian Sailor Jan 27 '13 at 18:06
  • @J.R. I think that this is not the most useful suggestion to an English Language Learner, as opposed to other constructions like "ten or so" or even "ten-something" with the hyphen. – Mark Beadles Jan 27 '13 at 18:13
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    U mispelled it, teh rite wai is “tensumethin”, wit a u laik in “tutolay” :p – Nikana Reklawyks Jan 28 '13 at 2:12
5

Even though it's not a single word and not very common, you could use in the tens (or other uses, like tens of millions - which is reasonably common).

  • 4
    I might interpret in the tens to mean anywhere from 10 to about 40 or 50, just like in the hundreds could mean more than a hundred, but less than a thousand. (I'm not trying to refute your answer, I'm just saying it's a thorny problem, and this suggestion isn't necessarily the be-all, end-all answer.) – J.R. Jan 25 '13 at 20:36
  • @J.R.- I don't think there is a be-all, end-all answer for this question. Can it be called localised, because if at all, it only seems to be catering to the requirements of the OPs language? Just wondering. – Mohit Jan 27 '13 at 16:06
  • @Mohit: Localized? I suppose all questions are localized to some extent. In this case, though, I don't find the question too localized. After all, I can imagine using that word, if it existed. When my children were 11, 13, 16, and 18, e.g., I couldn't say there were all "in their teens," because that wasn't true. I could have said they were all "over 10," but that wouldn't set a very meaningful upper bound. Because I can easily think of instances where I'd find such a word very useful, I wouldn't want to discourage anyone from asking this kind of question. – J.R. Feb 2 '13 at 19:11
5

Based on your explanation, one English term you may be looking for is "ten-odd." The modifier '-odd' follows a round number. "Ten-odd" can mean more than ten but less than twenty; for example: "We waited on the platform for ten-odd minutes before catching the train." However, the postpositive '-odd' more generally means "somewhat more than" that particular quantity; for example: "I am a programmer analyst with twenty-odd years of experience." It largely depends on the context.

However, "Я вдома вже кільканадцять хвилин" would probably best be translated as "I've already been home for well over ten minutes" ('well over' denotes 'much more than').

And I think the best translation of your first example, "Це коштує надцять тисяч," would probably be "This costs umpteen thousand (dollars)," as has already been suggested, since the essential meaning is that it is too expensive. 'Umpteen' denotes 'an indefinitely large number.'

0

The temperature can be referred to sometimes as being "in the teens", or "in the low teens". A quick reference on a website (first thing on Google)

  • This, in now way, goes to answer the original question. "Teens" only refer to the ages of "13" to "19"! – Mohit Jan 27 '13 at 15:48
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    Teens can also refer to things that are not ages, such as temperatures or years. However, as @Mohit says, in all cases, 11 and 12 are not teens; only 13-19 are. – Mark Beadles Jan 27 '13 at 17:39

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