for·​ty | \ ˈfȯr-tē How to pronounce forty (audio) \
plural forties

Definition of forty

1 : a number equal to four times 10 — see Table of Numbers
2 forties plural : the numbers 40 to 49 specifically : the years 40 to 49 in a lifetime or century
3 : the third point scored by a side in a game of tennis
4 or 40, US, informal : a forty-ounce bottle of an alcoholic beverage (such as beer or malt liquor) Kelvin finished his forty in seven or eight long gulps. Tossed the bottle in the median carpeted with brown grass.— Dave Byrne … smoking weed and drinking 40s while her kids run loose.— Jim Schutze

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from forty

fortieth \ ˈfȯr-​tē-​əth How to pronounce fortieth (audio) \ adjective or noun
forty adjective
forty pronoun, plural in construction
fortyish \ ˈfȯr-​tē-​ish How to pronounce fortyish (audio) \ adjective

Examples of forty in a Sentence

The temperature outside is in the high forties. She is in her forties.
Recent Examples on the Web There was another patient waiting, a woman in her forties with brown, chin-length hair. Brooke Jarvis, Wired, "The First Shot: Inside the Covid Vaccine Fast Track," 13 May 2020 Now, today’s middle-class workers in their forties and even fifties will likely get stuck with the huge tax increases. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Who will pay for the coronavirus bailout? If you’re under 50 and working, you will," 20 Apr. 2020 Despite initial data from China that showed elderly people and those with other health conditions were most vulnerable, young people — from twenty-somethings to those in their early forties — are falling seriously ill. Robert Langreth,, "Yes, Young People Are Falling Seriously Ill From Covid-19," 15 Mar. 2020 The victim has so far only been identified as a man in his forties or fifties. Chris Harris,, "Hiker Finds Decapitated Body in Los Angeles' Griffith Park," 4 Dec. 2019 His memoir, starting with life here in the thirties and forties, is the main course of Reflections and it is presented with side dishes of state and local history, travelogues, biographies, philosophy and fishing lore., "Community News For The Windsor Edition," 31 Oct. 2019 That growing up includes my twenties, my thirties, and even my forties. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Marc Jacobs Will Receive MTV’s First-Ever Fashion Trailblazer Award," 30 July 2019 The relative increases are four to five times higher than the increases in workforce gains in people in their thirties, forties, and fifties. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "How Old Is Too Old to Work?," 8 Mar. 2020 The masks take between an hour and forty minutes to three hours to print, depending on the type of mask. Claire Goodman, Houston Chronicle, "Master naturalist uses 3D printer to make protective equipment for first responders," 7 Apr. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of forty

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for forty

Middle English fourty, adjective, from Old English fēowertig, from fēowertig group of 40, from fēower four + -tig group of 10; akin to Old English tīen ten

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about forty

Time Traveler for forty

Time Traveler

The first known use of forty was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for forty

Cite this Entry

“Forty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for forty


How to pronounce forty (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of forty

: the number 40
: the numbers ranging from 40 to 49
: a set of years ending in digits ranging from 40 to 49


for·​ty | \ ˈfȯr-tē How to pronounce forty (audio) \

Kids Definition of forty

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: being four times ten



Kids Definition of forty (Entry 2 of 2)

: four times ten : 40

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on forty

Spanish Central: Translation of forty

Nglish: Translation of forty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of forty for Arabic Speakers

Comments on forty

What made you want to look up forty? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!