A dozen (commonly abbreviated doz or dz) is a grouping of twelve.
The dozen may be one of the earliest primitive groupings, perhaps because there are approximately a dozen cycles of the moon or months in a cycle of the sun or year. Twelve is convenient because it has the most divisors of any number under 18.
The use of twelve as a base number, known as the duodecimal system (also as dozenal), originated in Mesopotamia (see also sexagesimal). This could come from counting on one’s fingers by counting each finger bone with one’s thumb. Using this method, one hand can count to twelve, and two hands can count to 144. Twelve dozen (122 = 144) are known as a gross; and twelve gross (123 = 1,728, the duodecimal 1,000) are called a great gross, a term most often used when shipping or buying items in bulk. A great hundred, also known as a small gross, is 120 or ten dozen.
A baker’s dozen, also known as a big or long dozen, is 13. Varying by country, some products are packaged or sold by the dozen, often foodstuff (a dozen eggs). Dozen may also be used to express a large quantity as in “several dozen” (e.g., dozens of people came to the party).
A set of twelve.
“Can I have a dozen eggs, please?”
“I ordered two dozen doughnuts.”
“There shouldn’t be more than two dozen Christmas cards left to write.”
“Pack the shirts in dozens, please.”
A large, unspecified number of, comfortably estimated in small multiples of twelve, thus generally implied to be significantly more than ten or twelve, but less than perhaps one or two hundred; many.
“There must have been dozens of examples just on the first page.”
“There were dozens and dozens of applicants before the job was posted.”
An old English measure of ore containing 12 hundredweight.