Translation is often tricky. I'm stuck with the Polish word kilkanaście, which literally means few-teen. It is used to describe an amount more than ten, but less than 20 (or including 20, it's hard to say, the next "about-the-amount" word means twelve-and-a-few.

Is there an English word describing that amount, or similar amount?

The reason for the existence of such a word, I think, is the fact that when counting on hands, it describes the amount which I can't handle using my hands alone.

  • After reading english.stackexchange.com/questions/101698/… I think that my question is also on-topic. – Danubian Sailor Jan 27 '13 at 15:17
  • The word you're looking for is teens, which I am sure has appeared in answers to an almost-identical question in the last couple of days. – Andrew Leach Jan 27 '13 at 15:26
  • @AndrewLeach, 10–12 isn't normally included in "teens" (as much as my daughter may have claimed otherwise from her 10th until her 13th birthday). – Jon Hanna Jan 27 '13 at 15:28
  • 1
    @JonHanna, 10-12 used to be pre-teens but now have the label of "tweens". lol! – Kristina Lopez Jan 27 '13 at 15:51
  • 2
    If you're talking about numbers (as opposed to ages), Anglophones would often refer to indeterminate values in that general area as a dozen or more. If you used that term, it probably wouldn't be countered by "Actually, the true number is N" if N was in the range 11-19, but the further outside that range the true value was, the more likely it would be contested. – FumbleFingers Jan 27 '13 at 16:58

Teens is used to refer to numbers from 13 to 19, inclusive.

You can use this if you need a rough amount, and don't need to describe the range so accurately.

You usually use teens in this way by saying something is in the teens, for example:

The temperature is expected to be in the teens tomorrow.

Alternatively, you could say something is in the tens, but this may be interpreted as something from 10 to 99, inclusive.

  • Maybe few-teen wouldn't so bad, only it's spoken almost like fifteen... but when written, isn't so bad... – Danubian Sailor Jan 27 '13 at 16:09
  • If you use few-teens I would understand what you meant, but it sounds unusual and I'd be careful not to use it formally. – Hugo Jan 27 '13 at 22:21

If you’re just talking about people, it sounds like you’re talking about people in the second decade of their lives — although that would technically disinclude 20, since that is the start of the third decade.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.