Date: 08/24/2001 at 14:55:38 From: Scott Ingwersen Subject: Age classifications (i.e. septuagenarian) Hello Dr. Math, I'm trying to complete a table for age classes. So far, I have found: quinquagenarian = 50s sexagenarian = 60s septuagenarian = 70s octogenarian = 80s nonagenarian = 90s I could guess that someone in his or her forties is a tetragenarian, but do you have a more definitive answer for the gaps in my list? I'm also looking for 100s, or someone over 100 years of age, and if there is a definition for 110s? Are these Greek- or Latin-based? Best Regards, Scott Ingwersen
Date: 08/24/2001 at 16:46:37 From: Doctor Peterson Subject: Re: Age classifications (i.e. septuagenarian) Hi, Scott. The "s" in "sexa" and "septua" tells us they are Latin (the Greek prefixes are "hexa" and "hepta"). (See our Dr. Math FAQ on Large Numbers, or Russ Rowlett's Names for Large Numbers at http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/large.html and check your dictionary as well!) So I would expect the missing prefixes to come from Latin "decem" (10), "viginti" (20), "triginta" (30), and "quadraginta" (40). The "gen" part of your words parallels the "gint" part of the normal number prefixes, and means "tens"; for example, my dictionary says the Latin "quinquageni" meaning "fifty each" comes from "quinquaginta" meaning meaning "fifty". I did a Web search to find pages that might list Latin words of this form, and found http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/6946/distributive.html http://www.geocities.com/latingreeksite/numbers/numbers2.htm which tell me that the Latin words are "deni" (10), "viceni" (20), "triceni" (30), and "quadrageni" (40); so if the missing words existed, they would probably be denarian (teen) vicenarian (twenty-something) tricenarian (30+) quadragenarian (40+) Checking my dictionary, I don't find these, though the last can be found on the Web, but we don't need these words since under-50's are not noteworthy. A 100-year-old is a centenarian; I don't know of any standard way to form words for 110 and up. Perhaps, from the Latin, "centenidenarian" would do. - Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
Date: 12/27/2001 at 06:15:40 From: Anthony Brancato Subject: Age Classifications Those 110 years old and up (no upper limit) are now referred to as "supercentenarians" (the first use of this word appears to have cropped up in 1991, in a book entitled _Generations_ by William Strauss and Neil Howe). Also, "quadragenarian" meaning someone in their 40s, used to appear in dictionaries until about 30 years ago, when it was dropped in most places. I have never run across an individual word describing any age decade younger than 40.
Search the Dr. Math Library:
Ask Dr. MathTM
© 1994-2013 The Math Forum