1. a cardinal number, seven plus one.
  2. a symbol for this number, as 8 or VIII.
  3. a set of this many persons or things, as the crew of an eight-oared racing shell.
  4. a playing card the face of which bears eight pips.
  5. Informal.
    1. an automobile powered by an eight-cylinder engine.
    2. an eight-cylinder engine.


  1. amounting to eight in number.


  1. the cardinal number that is the sum of one and seven and the product of two and fourSee also number (def. 1)
  2. a numeral, 8, VIII, etc, representing this number
  3. music the numeral 8 used as the lower figure in a time signature to indicate that the beat is measured in quavers
  4. the amount or quantity that is one greater than seven
  5. something representing, represented by, or consisting of eight units, such as a playing card with eight symbols on it
  6. rowing
    1. a racing shell propelled by eight oarsmen
    2. the crew of such a shell
  7. Also called: eight o’clock eight hours after noon or midnight
  8. have one over the eight slang to be drunk
  9. See figure of eight


    1. amounting to eight
    2. (as pronoun)I could only find eight

late 14c., eighte, earlier ehte (c.1200), from Old English eahta, æhta, from Proto-Germanic *akhto(u) (cf. Old Saxon ahto, Old Frisian ahta, Old Norse atta, Swedish åtta, Dutch acht, Old High German Ahto, German acht, Gothic ahtau), from PIE *okto(u) “eight” (cf. Sanskrit astau, Avestan ashta, Greek okto, Latin octo, Old Irish ocht-n, Breton eiz, Old Church Slavonic osmi, Lithuanian aštuoni).

Klein calls it “an old dual form, orig. meaning ‘twice four.’ ” For spelling, see fight (v.). Meaning “eight-man crew of a rowing boat” is from 1847. The Spanish piece of eight (1690s) was so called because it was worth eight reals (see piece (n.)). Figure (of) eight as the shape of a race course, etc., attested from c.1600. To be behind the eight ball “in trouble” (1932) is a metaphor from shooting pool.

see behind the eight ball.

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