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a cardinal number, five plus one.
a symbol for this number, as 6 or VI.
a set of this many persons or things.
a playing card, die face, or half of a domino face with six pips.
Cricket. a hit in which the ball crosses the boundary line of the field without a bounce, counting six runs for the batsman.
Compare (def 3).
an automobile powered by a six-cylinder engine.
a six-cylinder engine.
amounting to six in number.
at sixes and sevens,

in disorder or confusion.
in disagreement or dispute.

Contemporary Examples

It was grueling, but it worked—NATO went through with the deployments and six years later the Berlin Wall came down.
My Brush With Obama’s Top Spook Christopher Buckley November 28, 2008

By the official count, Andrews had saved a total of six fellow soldiers at the expense of his own life.
The Army Lied About the Hero Who Died Looking for Bowe Bergdahl Michael Daly June 3, 2014

Over the next week, he entertained his three children and six grandchildren with his famous gallows humor.
Peter Worthington, 1927-2013 David Frum May 12, 2013

Only six years ago, ferocious demagoguery against gays and lesbians played a huge role in the 2004 election.
Bigotry Takes a Hit Michelle Goldberg August 3, 2010

The actors perform these scenes for four, sometimes six hour, stints and are “exhausted,” he adds, by the end of their shifts.
Sex, Blood, and Screaming: Blackout’s Dark Frights Tim Teeman October 6, 2014

Historical Examples

And six weeks after that I had things in shape so’t I was able to leave.
The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson

His expedition, which left Copenhagen in 1761, lasted six years.
Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon

She was seeing, as in a nightmare, the incidents of a night that was hardly six weeks past.
The Eternal City Hall Caine

Shot six ducks; great numbers were in the river, also white cockatoos.
Explorations in Australia John Forrest

There were six arches here, of which the two centre ones had a span of 100 ft.
Architecture Thomas Roger Smith

the cardinal number that is the sum of five and one See also number (sense 1)
a numeral, 6, VI, etc, representing this number
something representing, represented by, or consisting of six units, such as a playing card with six symbols on it
Also called six o’clock. six hours after noon or midnight
(cricket) Also called sixer

a stroke in which the ball crosses the boundary without bouncing
the six runs scored for such a stroke

a division of a Brownie Guide or Cub Scout pack
at sixes and sevens

in disagreement
in a state of confusion

(informal) knock someone for six, to upset or overwhelm someone completely; stun
six of one and half a dozen of the other, six and two threes, a situation in which the alternatives are considered equivalent

amounting to six: six nations
(as pronoun): set the table for six

Les Six (le). a group of six young composers in France, who from about 1916 formed a temporary association as a result of interest in neoclassicism and in the music of Satie and the poetry of Cocteau. Its members were Darius Milhaud, Arthur Honegger, Francis Poulenc, Georges Auric, Louis Durey, and Germaine Tailleferre

Old English siex, six, sex, from Proto-Germanic *sekhs (cf. Old Saxon and Danish seks, Old Norse, Swedish, and Old Frisian sex, Middle Dutch sesse, Dutch zes, Old High German sehs, German sechs, Gothic saihs), from PIE *s(w)eks (cf. Sanskrit sas, Avestan kshvash, Persian shash, Greek hex, Latin sex, Old Church Slavonic sesti, Polish szesc, Russian shesti, Lithuanian szeszi, Old Irish se, Welsh chwech).

Six-shooter, usually a revolver with six chambers, is first attested 1844; six-pack of beverage containers is from 1952, of abdominal muscles by 1995. Six of one and half-a-dozen of the other “little difference” is recorded from 1833. Six-figure in reference to hundreds of thousands (of dollars, etc.) is from 1840. Six feet under “dead” is from 1942.

Phrase at sixes and sevens originally was “hazarding all one’s chances,” first in Chaucer, perhaps from dicing (the original form was on six and seven); it could be a corruption of on cinque and sice, using the French names (which were common in Middle English) for the highest numbers on the dice. Meaning “at odds, in disagreement or confusion” is from 1785, perhaps via a notion of “left unsettled.”

verb phrase

To pay attention; become aware; wake up and smell the coffee: Let’s do something that’ll make him sit up and take notice (1889+)

six feet under
six of one, half a dozen of the other

also see:

at sixes and sevens
deep six
Joe six-pack


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