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in English history, a subdivision of a shire, first mentioned in the 10th cent. and surviving as a unit of local government into the 19th cent. It is thought that in origin the hundred comprised 100 geld hides, the geld hide being the basic Anglo-Saxon land unit for taxation purposes; but the hundreds varied considerably in size. The number of hundreds in a shire also varied, and their boundaries were continually changed. The hundred had its own court. The Saxon tithing groups, which had corporate responsibility for the crimes committed by their members, came before it, and personal pleas of debt and trespass were also brought there. Originally presided over by the king's reeves, the hundred courts continued to meet regularly every four weeks until the 13th cent., by which time many of them had been taken over by local lords. They gradually lost importance and from the 16th cent. had little more than a formal existence. In Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, and Leicestershire the unit equivalent to the hundred was called a wapentake; in Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmorland, and Durham, a ward. Hundreds were also used as subdivisions of counties in some of the Thirteen Colonies, and continued to be used in Delaware as state legislative districts until the 1960s.


See H. M. Cam, The Hundred and the Hundred Rolls (1930, repr. 1963); F. M. Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England (3d ed. 1971).



(German, Hundertschaft), a social and military organization among the ancient Germanic peoples during the period of transition from the primitive communal system to feudalism. The popular assembly of the hundred met under an elected hundred-leader and decided judicial, administrative, and other questions; the hundred was the basic unit of allotting troops among the Germanic tribes and tribal federations.

In continental Europe the hundred disappeared with the rise of feudalism. In England it gradually came under the authority of the king, in the person of the bailiff. The hundred endured until the late 19th century as an administrative-territorial unit with limited administrative and police functions. Several hundreds formed a shire.


1. the cardinal number that is the product of ten and ten; five score
2. a numeral, 100, C, etc., representing this number
3. Maths the position containing a digit representing that number followed by two zeros
4. History an ancient division of a county in England, Ireland, and parts of the US
References in classic literature ?
He recalled that a Sunday Special had once calculated that the working time of Arnold Thorndike brought him in two hundred dollars a minute.
I sold my farm on the Yadkin, and what goods we could not carry with us; and on the twenty-fifth day of September, 1773, bade a farewel to our friends, and proceeded on our journey to Kentucke, in company with five families more, and forty men that joined us in Powel's Valley, which is one hundred and fifty miles from the now settled parts of Kentucke.
It is worth seven hundred pieces of gold; but by auction it will go for little or nothing.
Here is a profane and drunken minstrel, called Allan-a-Dale nebulo quidam who has menaced me with corporal punishment nay, with death itself, an I pay not down four hundred crowns of ransom, to the boot of all the treasure he hath already robbed me of gold chains and gymmal rings to an unknown value; besides what is broken and spoiled among their rude hands, such as my pouncer-box and silver crisping-tongs.
Five hundred workmen were employed to make two sails to my boat, according to my directions, by quilting thirteen folds of their strongest linen together.
This basket," said Alnaschar to himself, "has cost me a hundred drachmas-- all that I possess in the world.
I saw that if the telephone could talk one mile to-day," he said, "it would be talking a hundred miles to-morrow.
Of them," said Sancho, "there are three thousand three hundred and odd; of these I have given myself five, the rest remain; let the five go for the odd ones, and let us take the three thousand three hundred, which at a quarter real apiece (for I will not take less though the whole world should bid me) make three thousand three hundred quarter reals; the three thousand are one thousand five hundred half reals, which make seven hundred and fifty reals; and the three hundred make a hundred and fifty half reals, which come to seventy-five reals, which added to the seven hundred and fifty make eight hundred and twenty-five reals in all.
Passing over the difference between the smallest and largest States, as Delaware, whose most numerous branch consists of twenty-one representatives, and Massachusetts, where it amounts to between three and four hundred, a very considerable difference is observable among States nearly equal in population.
Three feet being the average Perimeter it follows that, in a Polygon of three hundred sides each side will be no more than the hundredth part of a foot in length, or little more than the tenth part of an inch; and in a Polygon of six or seven hundred sides the sides are little larger than the diameter of a Spaceland pin-head.
Toward the center of the city was a large plaza, and upon this and in the buildings immediately surrounding it were camped some nine or ten hundred creatures of the same breed as my captors, for such I now considered them despite the suave manner in which I had been trapped.
Taking into consideration the mean of observations made at divers times-- rejecting the timid estimate of those who assigned to this object a length of two hundred feet, equally with the exaggerated opinions which set it down as a mile in width and three in length--we might fairly conclude that this mysterious being surpassed greatly all dimensions admitted by the learned ones of the day, if it existed at all.