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twice as large, heavy, strong, etc.; twofold in size, amount, number, extent, etc.:
a double portion; a new house double the size of the old one.
composed of two like parts or members; twofold in form; paired:
double doors; a double sink.
of, relating to, or suitable for two persons:
a double room.
twofold in character, meaning, or conduct; dual or ambiguous:
a double interpretation.
deceitful; hypocritical; insincere.
(of musical instruments) producing a tone an octave lower than the notes indicate.
duple, as time or rhythm.
folded in two; having one half folded over the other.
(of a bed or bedclothes) full-size:
a double blanket.
Botany. (of flowers) having many more than the normal number of petals:
double petunias; double hollyhocks.
anything that is twofold in size or amount or twice the usual size, quantity, strength, etc.
a duplicate or counterpart; something exactly or closely resembling another:
This dress is the double of that. He is the double of his cousin.
Also called double room. a type of hotel accommodation with two beds, or sometimes a double bed, for occupancy by two persons.
Compare 1 (def 4).
a fold or plait.
an alcoholic drink containing twice the usual amount of alcohol.
a sudden backward turn or bend, as of a fox on the run in fox hunting; reversal.
a trick or artifice, as of argument in a formal debate.
a substitute actor or singer ready to take another’s place, especially onstage; understudy.
Movies, Television.

a substitute who performs feats or actions too hazardous or difficult for a star.

Baseball. .
Military. double time.
doubles, (used with a singular verb) a game or match in which there are two players on each side, as in tennis.

a challenge by an opponent that the declarer cannot fulfill the designated contract, increasing the points to be won or lost.
a hand that warrants such a challenge.

Bridge. a conventional bid informing one’s partner that a player’s hand is of a certain strength.
Bowling. two strikes in succession:
He needed a double in the tenth frame to win.
any of certain feasts in the Roman Catholic Church, marked by a doubled antiphon and taking precedence over lesser feasts.
Music Rare. a variation.
a former coin of France, the sixth part of a sol, issued in silver in the 14th century, later made of copper.
to make double or twice as great; to add an equal amount to:
The baby doubled its weight in a year.
to bend or fold with or as with one part over another (often followed by over, up, back, etc.):
Double the edge over before sewing.
to clench:
He doubled his fists.
to be or have twice as much as:
Income doubled expenditure.

to sail around (a projecting area of land):
to double Cape Horn.
to add a new layer of planking or ceiling to (an old wooden hull).

to pair; couple:
The players were doubled for the tournament.
Music. to reduplicate by means of a tone in another part, either at the unison or at an octave above or below.

to challenge (the bid of an opponent) by making a call that increases the value of tricks to be won or lost.
to challenge the bid of (an opponent):
He doubled me into game.


to cause the advance of (a base runner) by a two-base hit:
He doubled him to third.
to cause (a run) to be scored by a two-base hit (often followed by in):
He doubled in the winning run.
to put out (a base runner) as the second out of a (often followed by up).

to become double:
My money doubled in three years.
to bend or fold (often followed by up or over):
to double over with pain.
to turn back on a course or reverse direction (often followed by back):
He doubled back by another road and surprised us.
Military. to march at the double-time pace.
to serve in two capacities or in an additional capacity:
She doubles as producer and director.
to act as a double in a play, motion picture, or the like.
Music. to play an instrument besides one’s regular instrument (usually followed by on):
The saxophonist doubles on drums.
(in bridge and other card games) to double the bid of an opponent.
Baseball. to make a two-base hit.
to double-date.
to twice the amount, number, extent, etc.; twofold; doubly.
two together:
There are only a few beds, so some of the children will have to sleep double for the night.
double down,

(in blackjack) to double an initial bet, on the condition that one can be dealt only one more card:
Will you double down and beat the dealer?
to increase one’s efforts or hold to a position or opinion, especially when vulnerable or taking a risk:
He has continued to defend his controversial interpretation of the document, doubling down on what he sees as the truth.

double up,

to share quarters planned for only one person or family:
Because of the room shortage, we had to double up.
to bend over, as from pain:
He doubled up in agony.

at the double, British Informal. on the double.
double in brass, Informal. to serve in two capacities; be able to do work different from one’s own:
It is a small firm, and everyone doubles in brass when emergencies arise.
double or nothing, a bet having as its outcome either the doubling of a previous loss or debt or the canceling of that loss or debt.
Also, double or quits.
on the double, Informal.

without delay; rapidly:
The fire engines came on the double.
in double time, as marching troops.

a person whose body is shown in a movie or TV show in substitution for a leading actor, especially in a nude scene.
Contemporary Examples

And no matter what the doubters say, double down on bipartisanship.
Obama’s Gameplan John Avlon February 23, 2009

In the end, they went with the other actor because I was a double threat, Hispanic and disabled.
Auti Angel, Star of ‘Musical Chairs,’ on Being Disabled in Hollywood Auti Angel March 23, 2012

Some have one pleat on each leg rather than double pleats, for example.
Back Away From the Pleats! Justin Green October 10, 2012

Skanda Amarnath is a double major in Economics and Applied Mathematics entering his final year at Columbia University.
How Do You Make Inroads With Asian-Americans? November 13, 2012

President Obama wants to double American exports within five years.
The Real Lesson of Pearl Harbor James Bradley December 5, 2010

Historical Examples

Down the passage they sped at the double, and out into the courtyard.
Mistress Wilding Rafael Sabatini

Then he would have the double satisfaction of using the boat and disappointing Robert.
Brave and Bold Horatio Alger

Elizabeth, Queen is said to have been warned of her death by the apparition of her own double.
Real Ghost Stories William T. Stead

If you don’t put down that gun in double quick time, you’ll repent it.
Brave and Bold Horatio Alger

The boy shouldered the double rifle and followed the doctor.
Dead Man’s Land George Manville Fenn

adjective (usually prenominal)
as much again in size, strength, number, etc: a double portion
composed of two equal or similar parts; in a pair; twofold: a double egg cup
designed for two users: a double room
folded in two; composed of two layers: double paper
stooping; bent over
having two aspects or existing in two different ways; ambiguous: a double meaning
false, deceitful, or hypocritical: a double life
(of flowers) having more than the normal number of petals

(of a root) being one of two equal roots of a polynomial equation
(of an integral) having an integrand containing two independent variables requiring two integrations, in each of which one variable is kept constant


(of an instrument) sounding an octave lower than the pitch indicated by the notation: a double bass
(of time) duple, usually accompanied by the direction alla breve

twice over; twofold
two together; two at a time (esp in the phrase see double)
twice the number, amount, size, etc
a double measure of spirits, such as whisky or brandy
a duplicate or counterpart, esp a person who closely resembles another; understudy
a wraith or ghostly apparition that is the exact counterpart of a living person; doppelgänger
a sharp turn, esp a return on one’s own tracks
an evasive shift or artifice; trick
an actor who plays two parts in one play
(bridge) a call that increases certain scoring points if the last preceding bid becomes the contract
(billiards, snooker) a strike in which the object ball is struck so as to make it rebound against the cushion to an opposite pocket
a bet on two horses in different races in which any winnings from the horse in the first race are placed on the horse in the later race
(often capital) (mainly RC Church) one of the higher-ranking feasts on which the antiphons are recited both before and after the psalms
(music) an ornamented variation in 16th and 17th century music
Also called double time. a pace of twice the normal marching speed
(tennis) See double fault

the narrow outermost ring on a dartboard
a hit on this ring

at the double, on the double

at twice normal marching speed
quickly or immediately

to make or become twice as much
to bend or fold (material, a bandage, etc)
(transitive) sometimes foll by up. to clench (a fist)
(transitive; often foll by together or up) to join or couple: he doubled up the team
(transitive) to repeat exactly; copy
(intransitive) to play two parts or serve two roles
(intransitive) to turn sharply; follow a winding course
(nautical) to sail around (a headland or other point)

to duplicate (a voice or instrumental part) either in unison or at the octave above or below it
(intransitive) usually foll by on. to be capable of performing (upon an instrument additional to one’s normal one): the third trumpeter doubles on cornet

(bridge) to make a call that will double certain scoring points if the preceding bid becomes the contract
(billiards, snooker) to cause (a ball) to rebound or (of a ball) to rebound from a cushion across or up or down the table

to cause two pawns of the same colour to be on the same file
to place both rooks of the same colour on the same rank or the same file

(intransitive) foll by for. to act as substitute (for an actor or actress)
(intransitive) to go or march at twice the normal speed
(films) a person who substitutes for a star for the filming of a scene that involves shots of the body rather than the face

early 13c., from Old French doble (10c.) “double, two-fold; two-faced, deceitful,” from Latin duplus “twofold, twich as much” from duo “two” (see two) + -plus “more” (see plus). Double standard attested by 1951. Military double time (1833) originally was 130 steps per minute.

late 13c., “make double,” from Old French dobler, from Latin duplare, from duplus (see double (adj.)). Meaning “to work as, in addition to one’s regular job” is c.1920, circus slang, from performers who also played in the band. Related: Doubled; doubling. To double up bodily is from 1814.

A blow on the stomach “doubles up” the boxer, and occasions that gasping and crowing which sufficiently indicate the cause of the injury …. [Donald Walker, “Defensive Exercises,” 1840]


mid-14c., “amount twice as great,” also “duplicate copy,” from double (adj.).


A person or thing that strongly or exactly resembles another; duplicate; dead ringer, look-alike: She’s Grace Kelly’s double (1543+)

double back
double bill
double cross
double date
double Dutch
double duty
double feature
double in brass
double life
double standard
double take, do a
double talk
double up

also see:

lead a double life
on the double
see double


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