What are the smallest and largest numbers that you instantly recognize as years?

I easily see the numbers 1350 to 2099 as being years before I see them as random numbers. I don’t easily see the number 1 as referring to a year even though there was a 1 A.D., and 1 B.C… I also don’t easily see there being years beyond 2099 A.D… I wonder what the standard range of this phenomenon is; are there people who see 48,512 or 318,999 as being years?

Earliest: 1066

Latest: 2525 :slight_smile:

On a related note, when I was eight years old, I remember reading about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. I remember initially having trouble recognizing this as an actual year.

410, generally accepted as the last year of Roman rule in Britain.



I always remember the year in HG Wells The Time Machine: 802,701.

1266 - I don’t know why but 1266 is the smallest number that I automatically think of as a year upon hearing or reading it, regardless of context.
2525 - Pretty obvious

Lowest, as cited above 1066.

I’ve read history before that, but those years won’t instantly register as years.

As for the future, I’d say 2999. After that, it’s 3K, as in MST3K.

This exactly. I have a drawing of the Battle hanging on a wall and I nominated 2525 for the 1 hit wonder thread. If it is 3 digits, I don’t think year.

1054 was the first thing that came to mine for smallest (Crab Nebula supernova) but -4004 is a really good one, too.

There’s a book called 1066 And All That, which is a reference to the typical historical events that get taught in British schools, in this case the Battle Of Hastings. Any number lower than that starts to sound like measurements or times of day or something.

As for the future, any Star Trek year would sound okay to my ears, but anything after the 24th Century might lose me.



Yup, 1066 is definitely the low end for me. Gotta be 4-digit and that’s the first one that rings out as a year.

For the highest, I’m not sure… probably something pretty soon actually, like 2099 or something like that.

For me, it depends too much on context to be able to give a straightforward answer. If (for example) I’m reading a chronology of something, then I’m primed to recognize as a year just about any number that has approximately the “right” number of digits for the topic. But if I’m reading normal prose… Hmmm… Most American publishers write “the ordinary number two thousand eighteen” with a comma in it - 2,018 - don’t they?

In the year one million and a half Humankind is enslaved by Giraffe. Man must pay for all his misdeeds when the treetops are stripped of their leaves.

I haven’t heard of “In The Year 2525” before; I thought it might be a Star Trek reference.

How about 1 million, as in One Million Years BC? :slight_smile:

466 – taught as “the fall of the Roman Empire” when I was in fifth grade

Another 2525 to add to the list.

As others have said, it would be 1066 and 2525 for me.

And I’ll admit it took me a while before my brain accepted that a four digit sequence that started with 20 was a year. It just looked unnatural to me. Back in my day, years started with 19.

I think you mean 476, when Odoacer kicked Romulus Augustulus out. That is the lowest number that automatically means “year” in my mind.

2525 is the top end for me too and now I can’t get that song out of my head.