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  • IPA(key): /tweɪn/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪn

Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English tweyne, tweien, twaine, from Old English twēġen m (two), from Proto-Germanic *twai, from Proto-Indo-European *dwóh₁. Cognate with Low German twene, German zween, Swedish tvenne . More at two.

The word outlasted the breakdown of gender in Middle English and survived as a secondary form of two, then especially in the cases where the numeral follows a noun. Its continuation into modern times was aided by its use in KJV, the Marriage Service, in poetry (where it's commonly used as a rhyme word), and in oral use where it is necessary to be clear that two and not to or too is meant.



  1. (dated) two
    But the warm twilight round us twain will never rise again.
    Bring me these twain cups of wine and water, and let us drink from the one we feel more befitting of this day.
Derived termsEdit


twain (not comparable)

  1. (rare) twofold


twain (plural twains)

  1. pair, couple

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English twaynen, from twayne (two, numeral).


twain (third-person singular simple present twains, present participle twaining, simple past and past participle twained)

  1. (transitive) To part in twain; divide; sunder.

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Mark Twain: pen name of the author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, which means "mark two (fathoms)" when sounding depth