Baker's dozen

Posted by Lewis on February 27, 2003

In Reply to: Baker's dozen posted by ESC on February 23, 2003

: : Any of you bright sparks out there know the origin of the term "a baker's dozen"? I know what it means, but I'd love to know where it originated. (or, at the very least, what the theories as to its' origins are)

: From the Meanings and Origins list:

: Meaning
: Thirteen.

: Origin
: In the Middle Ages in England there were severe penalties for anyone who gave short weight. Bakers were often uneducated and unable to count. To guard against miscounting twelve as eleven they habitually gave thirteen loaves when selling a dozen.

Not that I was there, but there was some requirement on total weight and the final loaf number 13 was a make-weight to ensure, as you say, that the dozen was acceptable to the weights and measures/trading standards/jobsworths.