cen·​tu·​ry | \ ˈsen(t)-sh(ə-)rē How to pronounce century (audio) \
plural centuries

Definition of century

1 : a period of 100 years a company that has been in business for more than a century specifically : one of the 100-year divisions of the Christian era or of the preceding period of human history the third century A.D./B.C the 18th century
2 : a group, sequence, or series of 100 like things
3a : a subdivision of the Roman legion the third century A.D.
b : a voting unit of ancient Rome constituted according to property qualifications
4 : a race over a hundred units (such as yards, miles, or meters)

Examples of century in a Sentence

It took more than a century to complete the cathedral. The pottery dates back to the sixth century B.C.E. When the prince got married, it was called the wedding of the century.
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Recent Examples on the Web More than half a century on, the Bond phenomenon continues with the upcoming release of No Time to Die, the latest movie in a franchise which has grossed billions of dollars. Clark Collis, EW.com, 19 Sep. 2021 More than half a century after the bloody struggle that brought an end to colonial rule, those divisions persist in modern-day Zanzibar. Christopher Vourlias, Variety, 12 Sep. 2021 His boss, Sami Sadat, reportedly escaped to the U.K. Until recently, the Kabul that Sadat fled often felt like a different country, even a different century, from Sangin. Anand Gopal, The New Yorker, 6 Sep. 2021 But a quarter of a century later, even the framers say those reforms have failed to deliver. Meg Kissinger, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 23 Aug. 2021 Monte dei Paschi’s five-and-a-half-century run is coming to an end. New York Times, 17 Aug. 2021 Even then, a once-a-century pandemic might come along and wipe out those plans like the tide surging over a sandcastle moat. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 15 Aug. 2021 Or women like journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells, who led anti-rape campaigns a century before the #MeToo movement. Washington Post, 13 Aug. 2021 The first is a century-plus of state policies favoring fire suppression tactics to manage blazes. Susie Neilson, San Francisco Chronicle, 3 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'century.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of century

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for century

Latin centuria, irregular from centum hundred

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Time Traveler for century

Time Traveler

The first known use of century was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near century



century plant

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Last Updated

25 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Century.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/century. Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for century



English Language Learners Definition of century

: a period of 100 years
: a period of 100 years counted from the beginning of the Christian era


cen·​tu·​ry | \ ˈsen-chə-rē How to pronounce century (audio) , ˈsench-rē \
plural centuries

Kids Definition of century

: a period of 100 years

More from Merriam-Webster on century

Nglish: Translation of century for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of century for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about century


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