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Kids Need Science is devoted to demystifying and explaining science, technology, engineering and math words, names, and concepts. Check back often for a science, technology, engineering or math word defined and explained every day.
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If you haven’t looked at the calendar yet today, it is a special day that won’t be repeated for a century:  12/12/12.  The word twelve was early in the English language, forming in Old English as twelf literally meaning two left (over ten) as far back as the twelfth century!  This system of counting came from the Proto Germanic formation *twa-lif-, a compound word formed by combining the root for two (*twa) and *lif-, which was the verb to leave.  English has a stronger echo of to leave in the number eleven.  Many Northern European languages adopted this formation:  Old Saxon had twelif, Old Norse tolf, Old Frisian twelef, Middle Dutch twalef, and so on. You won’t see a date like this again for 88 years, so enjoy it!

If you haven’t looked at the calendar yet today, it is a special day that won’t be repeated for a century:  12/12/12.  The word twelve was early in the English language, forming in Old English as twelf literally meaning two left (over ten) as far back as the twelfth century!  This system of counting came from the Proto Germanic formation *twa-lif-, a compound word formed by combining the root for two (*twa) and *lif-, which was the verb to leave.  English has a stronger echo of to leave in the number eleven.  Many Northern European languages adopted this formation:  Old Saxon had twelif, Old Norse tolf, Old Frisian twelef, Middle Dutch twalef, and so on. You won’t see a date like this again for 88 years, so enjoy it!

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