Tens of Thousands: Meaning and Examples

Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links, meaning that when you make a purchase, I earn a small commission. Affiliate links cost you nothing to use and help keep my content free. For more info, see the Disclosure Policy.

Ever heard of the phrase “tens of thousands”? What does it mean exactly– 10,000, 20,000 50,000? 60,000 or more?

The truth is that the phrase is very vague. Let’s explain its meaning and usage.

Struggling to understand and communicate with native English speakers? Innovative Language provides short lessons for fast and effective learning. Get personalized guidance from a teacher and complete it at your own pace.

Tens of Thousands Meaning

The phrase “tens of thousands” is often used to describe a very large number. In most cases, it is used to describe a number that is too large to count.

For example, if you were talking about the number of people in a city, you might say that tens of thousands of people live there.

This phrase is often used when the exact number is not known or when the number is so large that it is not worth trying to count it. It is usually between the range of 20,000-100,000.

When to Use Tens of Thousands

The phrase “tens of thousands” is often used in casual conversation and in informal writing when we don’t know the precise number of something.

You will not usually find this phrase in academic or journalistic writing as it is too vague. If you need to write formally in instances like these, you should use an exact number. For example, “The company employs 97,000 people in the United States.”

Sometimes, the phrase is said for the purpose of exaggeration. For example, “I’ve read tens of thousands of books in my lifetime.” Of course, they probably haven’t, but they want to emphasize that they have read many books. We call these exaggerations hyperbole sentences.

Examples of Sentences with Tens of Thousands

Here are a few more examples:

  • There are tens of thousands of stars in the night sky.
  • The company employs tens of thousands of people around the world.
  • The electricity bill will cost tens of thousands of euros this year!
  • Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from their homes during the hurricane.
  • Tens of thousands of people gathered at the town hall in protest.
  • That mistake cost the company tens of thousands of dollars.
  • Tens of thousands of people from all over the world saw the Eclipse.
  • Tens of thousands of happy students arrived this morning to receive their exam results.
  • There must be tens of thousands of rocks in this field.
  • He’s made tens of thousands of mistakes.
  • I saved tens of thousands of dollars before my retirement.
  • We’ve seen tens of thousands of patients over the years.

In each of these examples, the phrase “tens of thousands” describes a very large number.

How to Read Numbers in Tens of Thousands (in English)

  • 252,000: two hundred fifty-two thousand
  • 368,800: three hundred sixty-eight thousand eight hundred
  • 442,290: four hundred forty-two thousand two hundred ninety
  • 570,102: five hundred seventy thousand one hundred and two
  • 689,999: six hundred eighty-nine thousand nine hundred ninety-nine
  • 729,437: seven hundred twenty-nine thousand four hundred thirty-seven
  • 846,025: eight hundred forty-six thousand twenty-five
  • 964,678: nine hundred sixty-four thousand six hundred seventy-eight

You may also be interested in: How to Write Dates Correctly in English

Other Phrases You May Be Interested in Knowing

This is what each phrase roughly means:

  • Between 20-100: dozens (a ‘dozen’ means 12)
  • Between 200-1000: hundreds
  • Between 1000-19,000: thousands
  • Between 20,000-100,000: tens of thousands
  • Between 200,000-1,000,000: hundreds of thousands
  • Between 20,000,000-100,000,000 (million): tens of millions
  • Between 200,000,000-1,000,000,000: hundreds of millions
  • More than 1,000,000,000: billions
  • etc.

You may also be interested in: Play Stupid Games Win Stupid Prizes: Phrase Meaning

In Conclusion

As you can see from these examples, the phrase “tens of thousands” is very vague. It can be used when the total number is not known or when you want to emphasize your point.

If you need to be precise, for example, when writing formally, you should use an exact number. Otherwise, this phrase is fine in casual conversation and informal writing.

I hope you found this post helpful! If you did be sure to let me know in the comments, and drop a sentence with the phrase “tens of thousands of (something)” to practice what you have learned!

Language Pack

6-Day English Challenge

Sign up for my free 6-day challenge + English vocabulary planner to improve your English skills. Practice for just 10 minutes per day and see the results! Sign up here.

One-on-One and Group Classes (Free Trial!)

Language lessons and targeted rapid learning at Lingoda to improve confidence. Classes are available 24/7 in English, Business English, German, French, and Spanish. Get a 7-day trial here.


Learn how to write the letters of the alphabet and common English words with my printables available here. Improve early reading scores by 74% with the early learning program Homer.

Most Common Words in English

Did you know 3000 words in English make up about 95% of everyday conversation? Learn the 2000 most common words in English completely FREE when you sign up for English Class 101— no credit card required! Also, check out their monthly free gifts selection.

English Language Learning Videos

Study and learn English independently and at your own pace with the successful Building Your English Brain and English Vocabulary Launch: Upgrade your Speaking (intermediate).

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments