What Number Is Spelled In Alphabetical Order

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By Ikram Ullah

The English language is a vast ocean of words, phrases, idioms, and expressions. It’s a tapestry woven with history, culture, and evolution. Among its countless peculiarities, one that stands out is the way we spell numbers. This article delves into the unique alphabetical traits of the numbers ‘forty’ and ‘one’.

The Only number is spelled in alphabetical Order: ‘Forty’

The number forty is significant in various cultures and contexts. It denotes maturity in age, days and nights of biblical floods, and even the number of hours in a regular workweek in many countries. But beyond its numerical importance, ‘forty’ holds a unique linguistic title: it’s the only number spelled with its letters in alphabetical order.

When you break it down, ‘f’ comes before ‘o’, which precedes ‘r’, and ‘t’ naturally follows, with ‘y’ wrapping it up. This arrangement is not a product of mere coincidence. The etymology of ‘forty’ traces back to Old English “feowertig”, where the elements seem to follow a similar pattern.

Why is “Forty” the Only Number Spelled in Alphabetical Order?

The English language is rich and varied, but “forty” stands out as the sole number that adheres to this alphabetical style. Historically, the spelling of numbers evolved over time, with influences from various cultures and languages. “Forty” has retained its unique position, whereas numbers like ten, fifty, or seventy don’t follow this pattern.

Which Ordinal Numbers Spell in Reverse Alphabetical Order?

The number “one” is unique, as it’s spelled in reverse alphabetical order. This peculiarity makes it stand in stark contrast to “forty.” When you search for other numbers with this trait, you’ll find that “one” stands alone.

Why Is This Interesting?

These alphabetical anomalies might seem trivial at first glance, but they are testaments to the charm and quirks of the English language. Such patterns and irregularities make English both challenging and fascinating. They are like easter eggs hidden in a vast landscape of words and phrases, waiting to be discovered by keen observers.

Moreover, these peculiarities highlight the organic nature of language evolution. Languages aren’t designed with a strict set of rules from the start. Instead, they evolve, adapt, and sometimes, in the process, present us with delightful oddities.

Other Interesting Numerical Facts

While ‘forty’ and ‘one’ are notable examples, the English language doesn’t stop surprising us there. Here are some more fun facts:

  • ‘Zero’ is the only number with the same number of letters as its value.
  • ‘Eleven’ and ‘twelve’ don’t follow the typical “teen” pattern we see in thirteen through nineteen.
  • ‘Four’ is the only number with the same number of letters as its value.


The English language, with its vastness and depth, is riddled with curiosities waiting to be explored. ‘Forty’ and ‘one’ are just two examples of the myriad wonders this language holds. As we continue to delve into the intricacies of words and numbers, we realize that there’s always something new to learn, something unique to discover. So, the next time you count or write, take a moment to appreciate the linguistic marvels that are often hidden in plain sight. And who knows? You might just find another fun fact waiting to be unearthed.

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