AskDefine | Define twain

Dictionary Definition

twain n : two items of the same kind [syn: couple, pair, twosome, brace, span, yoke, couplet, distich, duo, duet, dyad, duad]

User Contributed Dictionary



From Middle English tweien, twaine. From Old English twgen (twēġen?) (meaning "two") from P.Gmc. *twa- (see two). See dwo- in Indo-European roots.
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 it's use in KJV, and 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.



Cardinal number

  1. two
    But the warm twilight round us twain will never rise again.


  • Matthew 5:41.
    And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
  • Chaucer, Knight's Tale ln. 1632.
    Til that the deeth departe shal us tweyne.
  • Kipling
    And never the twain shall meet.

Derived terms

See also

Extensive Definition

Twain may refer to:
twain in German: Twain
twain in Polish: Twain
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