Meaning of “century” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"century" in British English

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centurynoun [ C ]

uk /ˈsen.tʃər.i/ us /ˈsen.tʃər.i/

A2 a period of 100 years:

The city centre has scarcely changed in over a century.
This sculpture must be centuries old.
Her medical career spanned half a century.

a period of 100 years counted from what is believed to be the year of the birth of Jesus Christ:

Rome was founded in the eighth century BC (= before Christ).
He's an expert on 15th-century Italian art.

a score of 100 runs in cricket

the turn of the century

the time when one century ends and another begins:

The museum reopened at the turn of the century.

More examples

  • Life in the 19th century was very different from what it is now.
  • Peru was colonized by the Spanish in the 16th century.
  • She was probably the most highly educated prime minister of this century.
  • For centuries, Native Americans traded with European settlers.
  • For more than half a century, the reassuring tones of BBC newscasters have informed British television viewers about world events.

(Definition of “century” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"century" in American English

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centurynoun [ C ]

us /ˈsen·tʃə·ri/

a period of 100 years:

Her medical career spanned half a century.

A century is also a particular period of 100 years:

the fourth century B.C.
His music was influential in the 19th and 20th centuries.

(Definition of “century” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)