This question has been nagging at my mind. I want to write a story in an alternative world, and the primary culture will place importance on sets of 144 years, rather than centuries. I do not want to call them centuries for reader convenience; the sense of 'one hundred' is too embedded in the word.

If there is no existing word, is there a coinage that would be easily and readily understandable by native speakers?

  • I edited your question to include a rough guideline for your desire to invent a word, in an attempt to help keep the focus narrow and topical. You should feel free to rollback my edits or make more improvements of your own.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    May 20, 2016 at 18:40
  • Bilbo's 144th birthday was the day he left the Shire in Fellowship of the Rings, right? I don't remember him having a special word there, though maybe there was and maybe someone will remember it.
    – jejorda2
    May 20, 2016 at 18:47
  • @jejorda One hundred and eleventy, not 144th.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    May 20, 2016 at 18:49
  • @KitZ.Fox Oh right, and the 144 was the number of guests because it was Frodo's age added to Bilbo's. So that's a dead end.
    – jejorda2
    May 20, 2016 at 18:51
  • 2
    If they count in base 12 you could still call them centuries.
    – AllInOne
    May 20, 2016 at 20:36

4 Answers 4


In English, the first minute division of an hour into 60 parts is called a minute, and the second division of those into 60 parts is called the second.

Perhaps you could use a system where the first grouping of months into 12 is the year, the second grouping (144 months or 12 years) is the second-month, and the third grouping (1728 months or 144 years) is the third-month. Or just the third.

After explaining it once, it will be pretty easy to understand.

  • This is about as good as I will get, I think.
    – Angelos
    May 20, 2016 at 21:05

I have never used "a gross of years", and I'm not sure many people would understand, but I don't see a particular need for a more specific word.

  • 1
    The edit to the original question makes it quite different. In an alternative world, feel free to invent . . . Why the importance of 144 years? One could call it a Gross Year, a Great Year, a Long Year (Asaro used that for a period of 20 short-years), or more simply a Cycle or a Circuit.
    – Law29
    May 20, 2016 at 22:34

144 is a dozen dozens, or one gross

That's all I could find. New words are made every day. But only if there is some use for those words, they will stand the test of time. So you may create a word for it, but nobody would understand it.

But of course, if you're famous, anything you make up may become a meme and survive for a while, at least.

  • 2
    If it is an alternative world, you can make up a name. Perhaps grossyear.
    – GEdgar
    May 20, 2016 at 20:09

Roman numerals for 144 is CXLIV, perhaps you can use that as a basis for invention/pronunciation of a word. I can imagine it morphing to something like 'Zellif' for example.

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