Posted by Caroline on June 04, 1998 at 22:52:38:
In response to Baker's dozen, written by Phil H on June 04, 1998 at 18:37:15
The only reason why it's ever an indefinite number is because the French suffix "aine" is added to a number to give the indication that it is approximate. So un centaine means "about a hundred", un dixaine means "about ten", and douze + aine means "approximately twelve". However, in English, it usually is quite specific, and always has been, I think. Always twelve, except, as you say, in the case of Bakers, who always added an extra roll to the dozen so that they couldn't be accused of giving short weight.
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