[eyt] /eɪt/

a cardinal number, seven plus one.
a symbol for this number, as 8 or VIII.
a set of this many persons or things, as the crew of an eight-oared racing shell.
a playing card the face of which bears eight pips.

amounting to eight in number.
the cardinal number that is the sum of one and seven and the product of two and four See also number (sense 1)
a numeral, 8, VIII, etc, representing this number
(music) the numeral 8 used as the lower figure in a time signature to indicate that the beat is measured in quavers
the amount or quantity that is one greater than seven
something representing, represented by, or consisting of eight units, such as a playing card with eight symbols on it

Also called eight o’clock. eight hours after noon or midnight
(slang) have one over the eight, to be drunk
See figure of eight


late 14c., eighte, earlier ehte (c.1200), from Old English eahta, æhta, from Proto-Germanic *akhto(u) (cf. Old Saxon ahto, Old Frisian ahta, Old Norse atta, Swedish åtta, Dutch acht, Old High German Ahto, German acht, Gothic ahtau), from PIE *okto(u) “eight” (cf. Sanskrit astau, Avestan ashta, Greek okto, Latin octo, Old Irish ocht-n, Breton eiz, Old Church Slavonic osmi, Lithuanian aštuoni).

Klein calls it “an old dual form, orig. meaning ‘twice four.’ ” For spelling, see fight (v.). Meaning “eight-man crew of a rowing boat” is from 1847. The Spanish piece of eight (1690s) was so called because it was worth eight reals (see piece (n.)). Figure (of) eight as the shape of a race course, etc., attested from c.1600. To be behind the eight ball “in trouble” (1932) is a metaphor from shooting pool.

Related Terms

forked-eight, forty-eight
see: behind the eight ball


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