Common Germanic: Old English ęndleofon corresponds to Old Frisian andlova, elleva, Old Saxon elleban (Middle Dutch elleven, Dutch elf), Old High German einlif (Middle High German eilf, German elf), Old Norse ellifu (Swedish ellifva, elfva, Danish elleve), Gothic ainlif< Old Germanic ainlif-< *ain-(shortened < aino-) one adj., n., and pron.+ -lif-of uncertain origin. Outside Germanic the only analogous form is the Lithuanian vënó-lika, where -lika(answering in function to English -teen) is the terminal element of all the numerals from 11 to 19.
The Old English, Old Frisian, Old Saxon, and Old Norse forms represent a type *ainlifun, apparently assimilated to *tehunten adj., n., and adv. The theory that the ending is a variant of Old Germanic *tehun, Aryan *dekmten adj., n., and adv., is now abandoned; some would derive it from the Aryan root *leiq or < *leip (both meaning to leave, to remain) so that eleven would mean ‘one left’ (after counting ten.)
- 1: The cardinal numeral next after ten, represented by the symbols 11 or xi.
- 2: With ellipsis of n., which may usually be supplied from the context. the Eleven n. sc. disciples; also, a body of executive officers at Athens.
- 3: eleven o'clock, eleven hours, a refreshment or slight repast taken at about eleven o'clock.
Eleven is the first number which cannot be counted with a human's eight fingers and two thumbs additively. In English, it is the smallest positive integer requiring three syllables and the largest prime number with a single-morpheme name (although ultimately its etymology originates from a Germanic compound ainlif meaning "one left").