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I'm not sure what these are called, but how can I form a word like "quadruple" for any number I want? Like 5× as much is quintuple, what is 31× as much or 147× as much? I want to know how they are formed so I can make my own.

Similarly, how do I construct the prefixes, such as unicycle, bicycle, tricycle, quadricycle? I figured out 12 is duodeci-, but how can I form any prefix like this?

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I'm not sure these are productive patterns, i.e. I don't think there is a word for 31x as much or a 98-wheeled vehicle. Though I suppose a 100-wheeled one could be a centicycle, a la centipede... –  Marthaª Nov 23 '10 at 20:30
something like phrontistery.info/numbers.html , except i don't know latin so i don't know how to construct the ones he omits –  Claudiu Nov 23 '10 at 21:14
@Regdwight: i thought it might be incorrect, not sure though. feel free to edit it away. –  Claudiu Nov 30 '10 at 18:32
@Marthaª if 98-wheeled vehicles were to become sufficiently common we would in fact have a choice of nonagintaoctocycle (90 + 8) and duodecenticylce (100 - 2). Somehow I don't imagine those two choices would be the term that would battle it out for the hearts and minds of English speakers. –  Jon Hanna Jun 10 at 12:09
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4 Answers 4

up vote 18 down vote accepted

The usual way is just to find the Latin root and add the suffix: quintuple, sextuple, septuple, nonuple, etc.

For numbers beyond eight or nine, the -uple constructions sounds rather strained, if not downright silly. (Duodecuple? Really?)

I'd recommend -fold as an alternative ("a ninety-fold increase"), or substitute another counter noun altogether: an "eighty-one piece orchestra"; "a sixteen-part vocal arrangement"; "a 48-pin connector."

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+1 for -fold. –  Marthaª Nov 23 '10 at 21:39
true, that does sound more natural. but I want to say this to give a particular affect to my sentences, to be facetious, if you will =). i would not say "the great duodeci-monthly ceremony" instead of "New Year's" in all seriousness. –  Claudiu Nov 23 '10 at 21:53
ah yes so any tips on "finding the Latin root"? –  Claudiu Nov 23 '10 at 21:58
@Claudiu: Try math.ubc.ca/~cass/frivs/latin/latin-dict-full.html and search the page for the number you want. It's kind of cumbersome, but then so is using tredecim to mean thirteen. :) –  Robusto Nov 23 '10 at 22:03
this is the answer - construct the latin number, then -tuple it. but even in latin "147" is a multiple-word construction, so any attempt to say 147x in one word would be silly –  Claudiu Dec 2 '10 at 15:16
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Mathematicians use the term "n-tuple", sometimes replacing "n" with a numeral ("39-tuple") and sometimes leaving it as a variable. But I admit you don't see expressions like "39-tuple" outside the math literature.

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The same is done in computer science, but the overlap with mathematics is so large it's hardly surprising :-) –  psmears Jan 22 '11 at 15:30
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The best answer I have found so far is here. One would have to learn how to construct Latin numbers, then just modify the ending slightly. So a duodetrigintipede is a 28-footed creature. To multiply something by 147, one would centiquadragintiseptuple it... maybe... the article doesn't say how to say 47 or 100 + another number.

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Use up to quadruple, then five times, five fold, etcetera; any unknown, or very little known constructions risks misunderstanding to non-Latin speakers, and possibly sounding pretentious.

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