1. The cardinal number equal to the sum of 11 + 1.
2. The twelfth in a set or sequence.
3. Twelve Bible
a. The twelve original disciples of Jesus.
b. The books of the Minor Prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures.
[Middle English, from Old English twelf; see dwo- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
twelve adj. & pron.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.