I'm asking about how to say numbers, specifically the highlighted and in the following examples:

101: One hundred and one
234,500: Two hundred and thirty four thousand five hundred

Based on my experience, Britons, Australians and New Zealanders say the "and", and North Americans do not (ie "one hundred one", etc).

I believe most other English speaking countries say the "and".

Which version was used first?

What is the earliest respected referenced usage of either version in support?

There is a perhaps interesting/relevant reference; the 1956 British book The One Hundred and One Dalmatians", and the corresponding 1961 American movie titled One Hundred and One Dalmatians, which retained the "and" - was this the usage in vogue at the time or was this for copyright reasons?

The 1996 remake neatly sidesteps the issue with the name 101 Dalmatians.

  • 2
    I'm not a linguist, but I question the use of the term "deviation" in the second part of your question and "more correct" in the third part. Language evolves, not deviates. If not so, everyone speaking English would, with every word he spoke, be speaking a deviation from some earlier form of that word. Asking what are the earliest usages and what different varieties of English use is valid (and +1 for it), but "deviation" and "more correct" are not the best terms to use, IMO. (My bank could not care less!)
    – ab2
    Feb 13, 2017 at 18:42
  • 1
    I was going to suggest that the question was a duplicate of either one of these: How to write numbers in words and/or Rule for adding “and” or hyphens between numbers that are spelled out fully in text then I realized he was asking something quite different.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 13, 2017 at 18:45
  • 1
    @tchrist So, how does the question look now? BTW, I think "is it correct" is a fair question to ask, because there are some things that are incorrect, no matter their usage, such as speling, badly grammar, usage of apostrophe's, etc. Why can't the omission of a word be incorrect? In defence to you clobbering my question, I have acquiesced, because I actually want an answer (even if only partially to my original question).
    – Bohemian
    Feb 13, 2017 at 18:58
  • 1
    Actually, "one and one and one..." came first. Then someone invented "two", and "three", and a few more.
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 13, 2017 at 18:58
  • 2
    Following up on the comment of Hot Licks: According to Etymonline, there is a PIE root for two, and for three Etymonline and for four Etymonline and so on up to and including ten, but at eleven, it becomes more complicated. There is also a PIE root for and Eymonline. So it is not clear which came first, two or and.
    – ab2
    Feb 13, 2017 at 19:17

1 Answer 1


I ran Google searches for "one hundred one" and "one hundred and one" for the period 1600–1900. Many of the matches are false positives—but among the valid ones, "one hundred and one" appears more frequently and from a much earlier date.

The earliest match for "one hundred and one" is from the fascinatingly titled An Historical Essay: Endeavoring a Probability That the Language of the Empire of China is the Primitive Language (1669), by "John Webb of Butleigh in the County of Somerset Esquire":

We well know, those are not wanting, that make Nimrod to have arrived at Shinaar in the year one hundred and one after the Flood, and the Confusion [of Tongues] to have been at Phaleg's birth ; but although it is not to be believed; as Vossius saith, that the building of the Tower [of Babel], the Confusion of Tongues, and dispersion of the people should be made, before scarcely one Age after the Deluge was expired ; and though, as Sir W. Raleigh tells us "These men do all by miracle, an beget whole Nations without the help of Time["] ; nevertheless let it be as improbable, and the time as much abridged as it will, even by this computation also, the Classique History of the Chinois begins fourteen years before the Confusion of Tongues happened.

The earliest match for "one hundred and one" preceding a noun is from "Several Clauses in an Act, Intituled, An Act for making good the Deficiencies of several Fonds therein mentioned; and for Enlarging the Capital Stock of the Bank of England ; and for Raising the Publick Credit" enacted in "Anno 8 & 9 Gulielmi III Regis" (that is, in 1697 or 1698), reproduced in The Act of Tonnage and Poundage, and Rates of Merchandize (1702):

... upon the said Fourth Aid of four Shillings in the pound, Nine hundred and seventeen thousand one hundred and one pounds, Thirteen shillings, and Two pence half-peny ; ...

The earliest Google Books match for "one hundred one," meanwhile, is from Elias Voster, Arithmetic, in Whole and Broken Numbers, Digested after a New Method, and Chiefly Adapted for the Trade of Ireland, thirteenth Edition (1774):

Of Numbers consisting of Six Figures.

Write down, viz.


Four hundred seventy three thousand one hundred one _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ [Answer]


Of Numbers consisting of Eight Figures.

Put down the following Sums, viz.


Forty millions one hundred eleven thousand one hundred one _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ [Answer]

And the earliest match for "one hundred one" preceding a noun is from a lengthy series of tax tables included in "An act to authorize the Portland Union Railway Company to divide their stock into shares of less than one hundred dollars each" (March 16, 1860), in Acts and Resolves Passed by the Thirty-Ninth Legislature of the State of Maine (1860):

Presque Isle, One hundred one dollars, fifty five cents, $101 55


Edmunds, One hundred one dollars, thirteen cents, 101 13

On the evidence of these (and other early) Google Books search results, it appears that "one hundred and one" was in use by the second half of the 1600s and that "one hundred one" was in use by the second half of the 1700s.

  • 3
    From the OED: c1050: twa hundred & tyn. So I would assume that "one hundred and one" was in use from the 11th century, even if you can't find that exact number in the corpora. Feb 13, 2017 at 22:31
  • Great research on the number 101, but that is just an example, albeit probably indicative of numbers in general. Is it reasonable to extrapolate from 101 to all other numbers?
    – Bohemian
    Feb 13, 2017 at 22:35
  • @Bohemian: I'm sure that Peter Shor is right that the and between the hundreds column and the ones column (or tens column) goes back much farther than 1669. In the books from 1702, 1774, and 1860 that I link to in my examples of "one hundred and one" and "one hundred one," you will find consistent use of and (or consistent exclusion of and) in many other numbers ending in different digits. I omitted many other books from the middle 1700s onward that happened to mention the number 101 (as these did) and that treated their wording for it and other large numbers with similar consistency.
    – Sven Yargs
    Feb 14, 2017 at 0:35

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