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In Afrikaans we have the word gros, which means 12 dozen or 144. Usually that is how you buy eggs in large scale. Is there a English version of this word?

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  • Did no Afrikaans-English dictionary help? Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 17:58

1 Answer 1

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The term gross is used in English:

In English and related languages, several terms involving the words "great" or "gross" (possibly, from French: grosse thick) relate to numbers involving a multiple of exponents of twelve (dozen):

A gross refers to a group of 144 items (a dozen dozen or a square dozen, 122).

A great gross refers to a group of 1728 items (a dozen gross or a cubic dozen, 123).

A small gross or a great hundred refers to a group of 120 items (ten dozen, 10×12).

The continued use of these numbers in measurement and counting represents a continuation of the tradition of the duodecimal number system in everyday life and has encouraged groups such as the Dozenal Society of America to advocate for a wider use of such a numbering system in place of decimal.

(Wikipedia)

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    I have only ever heard of the first of these.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 11:05
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    @ColinFine same here, but learning of their existence does make the long ton and the short ton somewhat less vexing. Great gross would be useful for puzzles or trivia concerning phrases comprising etymological doublets.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 14:13
  • Did I ever tell you the 288 joke? Well, I guess it's too gross.
    – B. Goddard
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 17:46
  • I don't think gross is used much now (in the UK, at least). It may still be common in a few specific areas (which may include buying large numbers of eggs!), but I can't recall the last time I heard or used it, and many people probably wouldn't know it. Similar applies to score (20), though dozen (12) is still fairly common.
    – gidds
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 17:57
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    "Gross" is still common in the US, especially in marketing.
    – GEdgar
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 18:12

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