by the dozen(s)

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.

by the dozen

in groups of 12. (Compare this with by the dozens.) Eggs are normally sold by the dozen.
See also: dozen

by the dozens

Fig. many; by some fairly large, indefinite number. (Similar to but implying less than hundreds. Compare this with by the dozen.) Just then people began showing up by the dozens. I baked cookies and pies by the dozens for the charity bake sale.
See also: dozen

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: dozen

by the ˈdozen

many at the same time: On her birthday, she always receives cards by the dozen.
See also: dozen