by the dozen

by the dozen(s)

1. Specifically in a group or quantity of 12 (which constitutes a dozen). You can't just get one cupcake at that place—they only sell them by the dozen, like eggs.
2. In large numbers. Despite the using the word "dozen," the phrase is not limited to quantities of 12 and can be written in the plural ("dozens"). If we institute new rules by the dozen, we'll never be able to police them all at once. We're going to need to get bagels by the dozens for the company-wide breakfast meeting.
See also: by
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

by the dozen

in groups of 12. (Compare this with by the dozens.) Eggs are normally sold by the dozen.
See also: by, dozen
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

by the dozen

Also, by the hundred or thousand . According to a definite quantity, as in She's buying tapes by the dozen. This usage is generally employed for some kind of rate. A 1950 film about efficiency expert Frank Gilbreth and his family was entitled Cheaper by the Dozen. [c. 1300]
See also: by, dozen
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

by the ˈdozen

many at the same time: On her birthday, she always receives cards by the dozen.
See also: by, dozen
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in classic literature ?
In the midst of them, the hangman, ever busy and ever worse than useless, was in constant requisition; now, stringing up long rows of miscellaneous criminals; now, hanging a housebreaker on Saturday who had been taken on Tuesday; now, burning people in the hand at Newgate by the dozen, and now burning pamphlets at the door of Westminster Hall; to-day, taking the life of an atrocious murderer, and to-morrow of a wretched pilferer who had robbed a farmer's boy of sixpence.
THERE were shocking reports last week that the European Union planned to ban British shopkeepers from selling eggs by the dozen.
We have teamed up with the Odeon Cinema in Newcastle to offer a larger-than-life family the chance to appear in the paper and see the film, Steve Martin's latest, and take home Cheaper by the Dozen merchandise.