A Baker’s Dozen

Usually, “a dozen” means 12. But “a baker’s dozen” means 13. Why is that?

Long ago, people couldn’t weigh things very well. The bakers knew that. Sometimes bad bakers sold small loaves of bread for high prices. They lied to lots of people to make more money.

These bad bakers made people angry. So in 1266, King Henry III of England made a law about bread weight.

All the bakers were afraid of the king. When people bought 12 loaves of bread, the bakers started to give them 13 loaves. They wanted people to know they were honest.

Today, bakers don’t give extra loaves of bread. However, “a baker’s dozen” still means 13.


Key words


Comprehension questions

1. What is this passage mainly about?

2. What were bad bakers’ loaves like in the past?

3. What did King Henry III make a law about?

4. After the law, bakers gave people 13 loaves of bread instead of .

Check your answers