ⓘ 12 (number)


ⓘ 12 (number)

12 is the natural number following 11 and preceding 13. The product of the first 3 factorials, twelve is a superior highly composite number, divisible by 2, 3, 4, and 6.

It is approximately the number of full lunations of the moon in a year, and the number of years for a full cycle of Jupiter, which was historically considered the brightest "wandering star". It is central to many systems of timekeeping, including the Western calendar and units of time of day, and frequently appears in the world’s major religions.


1. Name

Twelve is the largest number with a single-syllable name in English. Early Germanic numbers have been theorized to have been non-decimal: evidence includes the unusual phrasing of eleven and twelve, the former use of "hundred" to refer to groups of 120, and the presence of glosses such as "tentywise" or "ten-count" in medieval texts showing that writers could not presume their readers would normally understand them that way. Such uses gradually disappeared with the introduction of Arabic numerals during the 12th-century Renaissance.

It derives from the Old English twelf and tuelf, first attested in the 10th-century Lindisfarne Gospels Book of John. It has cognates in every Germanic language e.g. German zwolf, whose Proto-Germanic ancestor has been reconstructed as * twaliƀi., from * twa "two" and suffix * -lif- or * -liƀ- of uncertain meaning. It is sometimes compared with the Lithuanian dvylika, although -lika is used as the suffix for all numbers from 11 to 19 analogous to "-teen". Every other Indo-European language instead uses a form of "two"+"ten", such as the Latin duōdecim. The usual ordinal form is "twelfth" but "dozenth" or "duodecimal" from the Latin word is also used in some contexts, particularly base-12 numeration. Similarly, a group of twelve things is usually a "dozen" but may also be referred to as a "dodecad" or "duodecad". The adjective referring to a group of twelve is "duodecuple".

As with eleven, the earliest forms of twelve are often considered to be connected with Proto-Germanic * liƀan or * liƀan "to leave", with the implicit meaning that "two is left" after having already counted to ten. The Lithuanian suffix is also considered to share a similar development. The suffix * -lif- has also been connected with reconstructions of the Proto-Germanic for ten.

While, as mentioned above, 12 has its own name in Germanic languages such as English, German, and Swedish. It is a compound number in many other languages, e.g. Italian dodici, Japanese 十二 jūni.


1.1. Name Written representation

In prose writing, twelve, being the last single-syllable numeral, is sometimes taken as the last number to be written as a word, and 13 the first to be written using digits. This is not a binding rule, and in English language tradition, it is sometimes recommended to spell out numbers up to and including either nine, ten or twelve, or even ninety-nine or one hundred. Another system spells out all numbers written in one or two words. In German orthography, there used to be the widely followed but unofficial rule of spelling out numbers up to twelve zwolf. The Duden the German standard dictionary mentions this rule as outdated.


2. Mathematical properties

Twelve is a composite number, the smallest number with exactly six divisors, its divisors being 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 12. Twelve is also a highly composite number, the next one being twenty-four.

Twelve is the smallest abundant number, since it is the smallest integer for which the sum of its proper divisors 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 6 = 16 is greater than itself. Twelve is a sublime number, a number that has a perfect number of divisors, and the sum of its divisors is also a perfect number. Since there is a subset of 12s proper divisors that add up to 12 all of them but with 4 excluded, 12 is a semiperfect number.

If an odd perfect number is of the form 12 k + 1, it has at least twelve distinct prime factors.

A twelve-sided polygon is a dodecagon. A twelve-faced polyhedron is a dodecahedron. Regular cubes and octahedrons both have 12 edges, while regular icosahedrons have 12 vertices. Twelve is a pentagonal number. The densest three-dimensional lattice sphere packing has each sphere touching 12 others, and this is almost certainly true for any arrangement of spheres the Kepler conjecture. Twelve is also the kissing number in three dimensions.

Twelve is the smallest weight for which a cusp form exists. This cusp form is the discriminant Δq whose Fourier coefficients are given by the Ramanujan τ -function and which is up to a constant multiplier the 24th power of the Dedekind eta function. This fact is related to a constellation of interesting appearances of the number twelve in mathematics ranging from the value of the Riemann zeta function at −1 i.e. ζ−1 = − 1 / 12, the fact that the abelianization of SL2,Z has twelve elements, and even the properties of lattice polygons.

There are twelve Jacobian elliptic functions and twelve cubic distance-transitive graphs.

There are 12 Latin squares of size 3 × 3.

The duodecimal system 12 10 = 10 12, which is the use of 12 as a division factor for many ancient and medieval weights and measures, including hours, probably originates from Mesopotamia.

In base thirteen and higher bases such as hexadecimal, twelve is represented as C. In base 10, the number 12 is a Harshad number.


3. In nature

Notably, twelve is the number of full lunations in a solar year, and the number of years for a full cycle of Jupiter the brightest of the ancient "wandering stars", hence the number of months in a solar calendar, as well as the number of signs in the Western and the Chinese zodiac.


4.1. Religion Ancient Greek religion

  • Several sets of twelve cities are identified in history as a dodecapolis, the most familiar being the Etruscan League. In ancient Rome, the twelve lictors carried fasces of twelve rods.
  • The Twelve Olympians are the principal gods of the pantheon, they were preceded by twelve Titans, and Hercules carries out twelve labours.

4.2. Religion Christianity

  • The significance is especially pronounced in the Hebrew Bible.

Ishmael - the first-born son of Abraham - has 12 sons/princes Genesis 25:16, and Jacob also has 12 sons, who are the progenitors of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. This is reflected in Christian tradition, notably in the twelve Apostles. When Judas Iscariot is disgraced, a meeting is held Acts to add Saint Matthias to complete the number twelve once more. The Book of Revelation contains much numerical symbolism, and many of the numbers mentioned have 12 as a divisor. 12:1 mentions a woman - interpreted as the people of Israel, the Church and the Virgin Mary - wearing a crown of twelve stars representing each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Furthermore, there are 12.000 people sealed from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, making a total of 144.000 which is the square of 12 multiplied by a thousand.

  • The number of twelve jurors in jury trials is depicted by Aeschylus in the Eumenides. In the play, the innovation is brought about by the goddess Athena, who summons twelve citizens to sit as jury.
  • The "Twelve Days of Christmas" count the interval between Christmas and Epiphany. Eastern Orthodoxy observes twelve Great Feasts.

In English Common Law, the tradition of twelve jurors harks back to the 10th-century law code introduced by Aethelred the Unready.


4.3. Religion Hinduism

  • There are twelve JyotirlingaSelf-formed Lingas of Lord Shiva in Hindu temples across India according to the Shaiva tradition.
  • There are frequently said to be 12 Adityas.
  • There are 12 Petals in Anahata or "heart chakra".
  • The Sun god Surya has 12 names.

4.4. Religion Others

  • The chief Norse god, Odin, has twelve sons.

In the King Arthur Legend, Arthur is said to subdue 12 rebel princes and to win 12 great battles against Saxon invaders.

In Twelver Shia Islam, there are twelve Imams, legitimate successors of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. These twelve early leaders of Islam are - Ali, Hasan, Husayn, and nine of Husayns descendants. Sura 12 in the Quran is sura Yusuf, narrating the story of the sons of Jacob.


5. Timekeeping

  • Most calendar systems - solar or lunar - have twelve months in a year.
  • The Chinese use a 12-year cycle for time-reckoning called Earthly Branches.
  • The lunar year is 12 lunar months. Adding 11 or 12 days completes the solar year.
  • The basic units of time are evenly divisible by twelve into smaller units.
  • There are twelve hours in a half day, numbered one to twelve for both the ante meridiem a.m. and the post meridiem p.m. 12:00 p.m. is midday or noon, and 12:00 a.m. is midnight.

6. In science

  • The atomic number of magnesium in the periodic table.
  • The duodenum from Latin duodecim, "twelve" is the first part of the small intestine, that is about twelve inches 30 cm long. More precisely, this section of the intestine was measured not in inches but in fingerwidths. In fact, in German the name of the duodenum is Zwolffingerdarm and in Dutch the name is twaalfvingerige darm, both meaning "twelve-finger bowel".
  • The human body has twelve cranial nerves.
  • Force 12 on the Beaufort wind force scale corresponds to the maximum wind speed of a hurricane.
  • The Standard Model identifies twelve types of elementary fermions.

7. In sports

  • In rugby league, one of the starting second-row forwards wears the number 12 jersey in most competitions. An exception is in the Super League, which uses static squad numbering.
  • In Canadian football, 12 is the maximum number of players that can be on the field of play for each team at any time.
  • In womens lacrosse, each team has 12 players on the field at any given time, except in penalty situations.
  • In cricket, another sport with eleven players per team, teams may select a "12th man", who may replace an injured player for the purpose of fielding but not batting or bowling.
  • In rugby union, one of the starting centres, most often but not always the inside centre, wears the 12 shirt.
  • In an NBA game, a quarter lasts 12 minutes.
  • In both soccer and American football, the number 12 can be a symbolic reference to the fans because of the support they give to the 11 players on the field. Texas A&M University reserves the number 12 jersey for a walk-on player who represents the original "12th Man", a fan who was asked to play when the teams reserves were low in a college American football game in 1922. Similarly, Bayern Munich, Hammarby, Feyenoord, Atletico Mineiro, Flamengo, Seattle Seahawks, Portsmouth and Cork City do not allow field players to wear the number 12 on their jersey because it is reserved for their supporters.


8. In technology

  • ASCII and Unicode code point for form feed.
  • The number of keys in any standard digital telephone 1 through 9, 0, * and #.
  • The number of function keys on most PC keyboards F1 through F12.
  • Microsofts Rich Text Format specification assigns numbers congruent to 12 mod 256 to variants of the French language.


9.1. In the arts Film

Movies with the number twelve or its variations in their titles include:

  • 12 Monkeys
  • 12 Rounds
  • Oceans Twelve
  • 12 Angry Men 1957 and 1997
  • Twelve Years a Slave
  • Cheaper by the Dozen
  • The Dirty Dozen
  • The Twelve Chairs 1970, 1971 and 1976
  • Twelve
  • 12

9.2. In the arts Television

  • Twelve Angry Men, the original 1954 live performance on the anthology television series Studio One
  • The News 12 Networks are a group of American regional cable news television channels covering New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
  • The number twelve plays a significant role in the television franchise Battlestar Galactica. The characters come from the Twelve Colonies of Kobol and worship the twelve lords of Kobol. In the re-imagined series, there are also twelve models of the humanoid version of Cylons.
  • Les 12 Coups de Midi is a daily French game show broadcast on TF1 with Oliver Minne at midday CEST.
  • "Number 12 Looks Just Like You" is an episode of the television show The Twilight Zone.
  • Schoolhouse Rock! portrayed an alien child using base-twelve arithmetic in the short "Little Twelvetoes".
  • In Star Twinkle PreCure, the Star Palace is home to the twelve Star Princesses, one for each sign of the Zodiac.
  • 12 oz. Mouse was an animated television show on Adult Swim.


9.3. In the arts Theatre

  • The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses is a Jacobean masque by Samuel Daniel.
  • Twelve Angry Men, by Reginald Rose, adapted from his own teleplay see above.
  • Twelfth Night is a comedy by William Shakespeare.

9.4. In the arts Literature

  • Miguel de Cervantes wrote twelve Novelas ejemplares.
  • The Twelve Dancing Princesses is a folk tale.
  • The Twelve is a poem by Aleksandr Blok.
  • Twelve is a novel by Nick McDonell.
  • Paradise Lost, an epic poem by John Milton is divided into twelve books perhaps in imitation of the Aeneid.
  • The Aeneid, an epic poem by Virgil is divided into two halves composed of twelve books.
  • Cheaper by the Dozen is a 1946 novel by Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.
  • The Twelve Chairs is a satirical novel by the Soviet authors Ilf and Petrov.

9.5. In the arts Music theory

  • The Twelve-bar blues is one of the most prominent chord progressions in popular music.
  • The twelfth is the interval of an octave and a fifth. Instruments such as the clarinet which behave as a stopped cylindrical pipe overblow at the twelfth.
  • The twelve-tone technique also dodecaphony is a method of musical composition devised by Arnold Schoenberg. Music using the technique is called twelve-tone music.
  • Twelve is the number of pitch classes in an octave, not counting the duplicated octave pitch. Also, the total number of major keys, not counting enharmonic equivalents and the total number of minor keys also not counting equivalents. This applies only to twelve tone equal temperament, the most common tuning used today in western influenced music.
  • 12-inch record, see Phonograph record#78 rpm disc sizes.

9.6. In the arts Pop music

  • 12 American Song Book is an album by Italian singer Mina.
  • 12 is the 12th studio album by Keller Williams.
  • "12" "Dodeka" in Greek is one of the most well-known hits by Anna Vissi.
  • The 12-inch single is a vinyl record format.
  • 12 is a studio album by German singer Herbert Gronemeyer.
  • D12 a rap group also known as the Dirty Dozen.
  • 12 Play is an R. Kelly album.
  • Twelve Girls Band are an all female Chinese musical group.
  • "12 Hundred" is a song by band Mushroomhead of their Savior Sorrow album.
  • 12 Stones is an American Christian rock band.
  • "12", a Song from the album Brave Murder Day by Katatonia.
  • Twelfth Night is a progressive rock band.
  • Twelve Deadly Cyns.and Then Some is an album by Cyndi Lauper.
  • Revelation #12 is a song by American rock band Marilyn Manson.
  • "Twelve drummers drumming" is the gift on the twelfth day of Christmas in the carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas".
  • Twelve is an album by Patti Smith.
  • The Number 12 Looks Like You is a mathcore band.

9.7. In the arts Art theory

  • There are twelve basic hues in the color wheel; 3 primary colors, 3 secondary colors orange, green & purple and 6 tertiary colors names for these vary, but are intermediates between the primaries and secondaries.

9.8. In the arts Games

  • Twelve is a character in the Street Fighter video game series.
  • In the game of craps, a dice roll of two sixes value 12 on the come-out roll constitutes a" craps” and the shooter dice thrower loses immediately.

10. In other fields

  • In the former British currency system, there were twelve pence in a shilling.
  • According to UFO conspiracy theory, Majestic 12 is a secret committee, allegedly set up by U.S. President Harry S. Truman to investigate the Roswell UFO incident and cover up future extraterrestrial contact.
  • There are normally twelve pairs of ribs in the human body.
  • Twelve people have walked on Earths moon.
  • The United States is divided into twelve Federal Reserve Districts ; American paper currency has serial numbers beginning with one of twelve different letters, A through L, representing the Federal Reserve Bank from which the currency originated.
  • 12 inches in a foot.
  • King Arthurs round table had 12 knights plus King Arthur himself.
  • In Greek mythology, the number of Labours of Heracles was increased from ten to make twelve.
  • In the United States, twelve people are appointed to sit on a jury for felony trials in all but four states, and in federal and Washington, D.C. courts. The number of jurors gave the title to the play and subsequent films Twelve Angry Men.
  • 12 is the number of the French department Aveyron.
  • In English, twelve is the number of greatest magnitude that has just one syllable.
  • There are 12 troy ounces in a troy pound used for precious metals.
  • Wilhelm Heinrich SchuSler developed a list of 12 biochemical cell salts, also known as tissue salts.
  • The Twelve Tables or Lex Duodecim Tabularum, more informally simply Duodecim Tabulae was the ancient legislation underlying Roman law.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous has 12 steps, 12 traditions and 12 concepts for world service.