- The cardinal number equal to 10 + 1.
- The 11th in a set or sequence.
- Something with 11 parts or members, especially a football team.
[Middle English elleven, from Old English endleofan.]eleven eÂ·lev'en adj. & pron.
WORD HISTORY The decimal system of counting is well established in the English names for numbers. Both the suffix â€“teen (as in fourteen) and the suffix â€“ty (as in forty) are related to the word ten. But what about the anomalous eleven and twelve? Why do we not say oneteen, twoteen along the same pattern as thirteen, fourteen, fifteen? Eleven in Old English is endleofan, and related forms in the various Germanic languages point back to an original Germanic *ainlif, â€œeleven.â€ *Ainlif is composed of *ainâ€“, â€œone,â€ the same as our one, and the suffix *â€“lif from the Germanic root *libâ€“, â€œto adhere, remain, remain left over.â€ Thus, eleven is literally â€œone-leftâ€ (over, that is, past ten), and twelve is â€œtwo-leftâ€ (over past ten).