You might have pondered what it meant when you heard someone refer to a score as a quantity. A 20 is a score. Although the phrase isn’t often used nowadays, there are still instances of it in literature and history.
What Was the Origin of “Score” As 20?
Around 1100, the term “score” was originally used to describe a group of 20 objects. Herds of sheep or cattle were tallied, or “score.” In order to signal that they had counted 20 sheep or cows, shepherds or cattle workers would count 20 of the animals.
The livestock hands could keep track of enormous numbers of cattle or sheep without losing count by counting by scores.
The Word “Score’s” Origin
The Old Norse term “skor,” which meant to notch something, is where the word “score” originates. In order to remember how many cows they had counted, livestock keepers actually carved notches on a stick. Because of this, the word “score” came to signify the value 20.
Earlier Counting Methods
People utilised several counting methods from antiquity to the Middle Ages, much like how we count today with twos, fives, and tens. For instance, counting in dozens is a relic of earlier counting techniques.
Roman numerals, which are frequently seen in classic movies, were another ancient counting system. A film from 1938 might display the year as MCMXXXVIII, where each letter of the Roman numeral stands for a different value.
Scores are used in old texts.
The Bible and other books contain examples of score counting. In older translations like the King James Version, the Bible contains scores counts. Exodus 15:27 is one passage in the Bible that uses a score system. The Israelites came across 70 palm trees, or “threescore and ten palm palms,” in this location.
The term “score” is frequently used to describe 20 of something in well-known works of literature like Shakespeare’s plays. In
“Three hundred and ten I can remember well,” an elderly man says of Macbeth. He is implying that he is able to recall the last 70 years of his life.
Ratings in Well-Known Speeches
There are instances of American speakers referring to 20 of anything as a “score.” The speaker can make a point by using that counting technique that sounds like it belongs in the Bible or in a work of literature.
For instance, in his “I Have a Dream” speech, Martin Luther King used the phrase “five score years ago” to refer to the Emancipation Proclamation, which was issued 100 years prior.
When 477 years had passed
Of course, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is the most famous instance of the word “score.” That renowned speech by Abraham Lincoln began with the phrase “four score and seven years ago.” The Declaration of Independence was formally ratified by the Founding Fathers in 1776, which corresponds to the number of years (87).