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Two

"Two" in different languages:
French German Russian Welsh Latin Greek
deux zwei dva dau duo duo

This page of the Number section looks at words that indicate two such as...

pairTwo birds

  • a pair of socks.
  • a pair of trousers comes from the two individual "legs" of the trousers which used to be separate and could be buttoned together.
  • In games of cards, a pair means two cards with the same pip (value) but not necessarily of the same suit.

The word pair comes from the Latin for equal: par.

binary

  • a binary star which is two stars rotating about each other.
  • a binary number meaning one written in "base 2" which counts in twos rather than tens.
  • A bit is an abbreviation of binary digit and means 0 or 1, the building blocks for representing numbers, characters and instructions in a computer.

bi..

  • Other words beginning with bi that indicate "two" are:
    bicycle (two wheeled), binoculars (two eye-pieces), biped (two footed) and bisect (to cut into two).

di..

  • is a similar prefix as in dilemma (two choices), diaphragm a flexible sheet which separates two parts.

duo

  • meaning two people,
  • also duologue two people talking,
  • duplicate to make into two by copying,
  • and duodecimal meaning two plus ten or twelve as in the old English systems of money and length that had 12 pennies in one shilling and 12 inches in one foot.

twain

  • an old term as in "a log smote in twain" meaning the log was split (smote) into two. This leads to similar words such as twin, twine (string made of two strands), twice, twist and twenty for twain tens.

You

  • Even in the eighteenth century, there were two words for "you": when referring to one particular person, "thou" was used and the other was for more than one person: "you".
  • The distinction remains in that "I" is referred to the first person and "you" as the second person when talking about the grammar of a language (the rules for forming words and sentences). /li>
  • There are still two words in French for "you": tu for a close friend and vous for more than one person referred to as "you".

Two owlsCan you...

  • ...find some other "two" words? [Hint: what about "d**l" and "d***le"?]
  • ...keep a list of these in a notebook and add to it as you come across new words.

Reference

The Guinness Book of Numbers by Adrian Room, published by Guinness books in 1989, ISBN 0-85112-372-4 has more on number words and lots more interesting number facts and figures.


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