for·​ty ˈfȯr-tē How to pronounce forty (audio)
plural forties
: a number equal to four times 10 see Table of Numbers
forties plural : the numbers 40 to 49
specifically : the years 40 to 49 in a lifetime or century
: the third point scored by a side in a game of tennis
or 40 US, informal : a forty-ounce bottle or other container 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
fortieth adjective or noun
forty adjective
forty pronoun, plural in construction
fortyish 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 That means a boss in their forties to mid-to-late fifties. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 2 Apr. 2024 Academics at the University of Essex in the U.K. found children who exhibited behavior like bullying and throwing temper tantrums were likely to go on to earn more money than other children in their forties, according to a study published earlier in March. Ryan Hogg, Fortune Europe, 28 Mar. 2024 The target, a man in his forties, soon emerged, barefoot and scowling, and was taken into custody. Paige Williams, The New Yorker, 18 Mar. 2024 The actual connection between the two young girls (now women in their thirties and forties) isn’t all that hard to parse given the details laid out, and the movie is quick to reveal it too. Siddhant Adlakha, Variety, 18 Mar. 2024 Exercise really helps Studies have shown that women–especially those in their forties and beyond–are less likely to exercise consistently, if at all. Hannah Coates, Vogue, 15 Mar. 2024 By her early forties, Hoover had become one of the most successful Native American academics in the country, renowned for her work in food sovereignty, the idea that self-determination entails controlling one’s sources of nutrition. Jay Caspian Kang, The New Yorker, 26 Feb. 2024 So Yeagley—a technology consultant then in his late forties who had worked in and around government projects nearly his entire career—made a PowerPoint presentation and went out to demonstrate precisely how that data was a serious national security risk. Byron Tau, WIRED, 27 Feb. 2024 And to further complicate matters, only 9% of US automation engineers are in their twenties, while the majority of these workers are far beyond their forties, according to Zippia research. Natan Linder, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'forty.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near forty

Cite this Entry

“Forty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


for·​ty ˈfȯrt-ē How to pronounce forty (audio)
plural forties
: a number equal to four times 10 see number
fortieth adjective or noun
forty adjective or pronoun
fortyish adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on forty

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