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 Dooley crisscrosses the state, interviewing Hmong farmers, century farmers, high school students who raise turkeys, people who grow organic corn and people who make cheese. Star Tribune, "Chadwick Boseman as James Brown: 10 best to watch, read or hear this week," 3 Sep. 2020 In fact, San Antonio has seen quite the ’20 milestones every century since its founding in 1718. René A. Guzman, ExpressNews.com, "2020 has been terrible, so let’s turn back the clock to better ’20s in San Antonio," 3 Sep. 2020 After more than half a century, the District’s beloved 202 area code is running out of numbers. Emily Davies, Washington Post, "Numbers are running out for the 202 area code in D.C.," 1 Sep. 2020 According to Miller, a few researchers believe some species of tardigrades might even be able to survive desiccation for up to a century. William Herkewitz, Popular Mechanics, "Everything We Know About Tardigrades, the Only Animal That Can Survive in Space," 21 Aug. 2020 Previously, researchers have discerned century-scale jumps in CO2 only from ice samples representing the late stages of the most recent ice age. Sid Perkins, Science | AAAS, "Surprising pulses of ancient warming found in Antarctic ice samples," 20 Aug. 2020 Before that century’s end, the first clear outbreaks of chikungunya and dengue had appeared in Asia. Joshua Sokol, The Atlantic, "The Worst Animal in the World," 20 Aug. 2020 The city of Dallas purchased the park in 1914, and over a century has passed since patrons could ride on shoot-the-chutes or watch a theater production. Alyssa Fernandez, Dallas News, "Oak Cliff, Texas: Luxury homes and an amusement park, Dallas’ reminder to not forget the other side of the Trinity," 15 Aug. 2020 That’s just a blip for a family business that has survived a century, largely on a crackly thin crust, voted best in the city. Louisa Chu, chicagotribune.com, "Vito & Nick’s celebrates 100 years in Chicago with the best tavern-style pizza in the city," 12 Aug. 2020

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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Statistics for century

Last Updated

12 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Century.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/century. Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for century


How to pronounce century (audio)

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

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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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