On 40

This post is about the number forty, quaranta, veertig, cорок, keturiasdešimt, Minn erbgħin, XL, and many more … can you add any?

40 – As forty, the only English number with the letters of its correct spelling are in alphabetical order

In Mathematics
40 – a composite number, an octagonal number, a semiperfect number, a Harshad number, a Stormer number

40 – divisible by 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 20, and 40

In Science
40 – the atomic number of zirconium, whose neutrally charged atom has 40 protons and 40 electrons

40 – the number of weeks for an average term of pregnancy

M40 – a star in the constellation Ursa Major

NGC 40 – a planetary nebula in the constellation Cepheus

In Religion

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  • 40 – a commonly used time period (days, nights, years) – (many references)
  • 40 – the number of days and nights during the Flood
  • 40 – the number of se’ah in a mikvah of water (approximately 200 gallons/757 liters)
  • 40 – the number of lashes as a punishment


  • 40 – the number of days and nights Jesus fasted
  • 40 – the number of days between the resurrection of Jesus to the ascension of Jesus
  • 40 – the number of days of Lent preceding Easter (but Eastern and Western Christianity count it differently)


  • 40 – Muhammad’s age when he first received the revelation delivered by the archangel Gabriel
  • 40 days – the official length of mourning


  • 40 – the number of stanzas (shlokas or dohas) in some popular HIndu prayers
  • 40 – number of days fasting

In Sports

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40 – number of players allowed under contract for each MLB baseball team

40/40 Club – Players achieving 40 stolen bases and 40 home runs in a season (only been done 4 times)

40 – the maximum number of horses in the grand national

40 yards – (36.5 meters): the distance dash as a metric in scouting American football players
The distance run in the 40 yard dash, an important metric in American football scouting.

40 – the third point in a tennis game … and 40-40 is called “deuce”

40 – the number of cars in a NASCAR Nationwide race

40 – the number of a NASCAR car that has won 9 races by drivers Sterling Marlin (4), Pete Hamilton (3), Tommy Thompson (1), and Jamie McMurray (1)

40 – a jersey number retired in this professional sports:
MLB: Don Wilson (Astros), Danny Murtaugh (Pirates)
NBA: Byron Beck (Nuggets), Bill Laimbeer (Pistons)
NFL: Pat Tillman (Cardinals), Gale Sayers (Bears), Mike Haynes (Patriots), Joe Morrison (Giants), Tom Brookshier (Eagles)

In Entertainment
40 – the number of spaces in a standard Monopoly game board

40 -the highest number ever counted to on Sesame Street

In Music
Crush 40 – an American-Japanese hard rock band

“40” – a song by Dave Matthews Band, UC, and Franz Ferdinand

“Forty Shades of Green” – a song by Johnny Cash

40 – the name of Canadian hip hop producer Noah Shebib

Symphony No. 40 – by Haydn and Mozart

40 – the number of song on popular weekly radio programs as American Top 40, Rick Dees’ Weekly Top 40, and American Country Countdown – #1 40 years ago today

In Television
$40 – the spending limit for chefs on “Chef on a Shoestring”

$40 – the per day spending limit on $40 a Day, a travel/eating show originally on Food Network hosted by Rachael aye

In Literature
40 – the number of thieves involved with Ali Baba in Arabian Nights

In Culture
To understand a people, you must live among them for 40 days. ~Arabic proverb

40 hours – the customary number of hours in a regular workweek in some countries

40 days – Russian folklore regarding the length of time ghosts of the dead linger at the site of their death

40 years – an age milestone

40th wedding anniversary – Ruby is the traditional gift

In US History
40 acres and a mule – a plan to offer freed slaves after the US Civil War

40th US President – Ronald Reagan

STS-40 – the 11th mission of the Space Shuttle Columbia (June 1991)

Federalist Paper No. 40 – written by James Madison about the authority of the Constitutional Convention

In World History
40 – During the Bubonic plague, the number of days ships isolated in the harbor before passengers could go ashore

40 – another name for The Tessarakonteres, the largest ship of antiquity, constructed by Ptolemy IV of Egypt

40 CE

  • Korean calendar year 2373, Holocene calendar year 10040, Discordian calendar year 1206
  • A leap year starting on Friday
  • Roman Emperor Caligula starts on a campaign to conquer Britain (which failed)
  • The Vietnamese Trưng Sisters rebel against the rule of the Chinese Emperor Guangwu of Han
  • Philo teaches that all men are born free.
  • Christianity comes to Egypt

40 BC

  • Assyrian calendar year 4711, Berber calendar year 911, Buddhist calendar year 505
  • Either a common year starting on Thursday, Friday or Saturday or a leap year starting on Thursday or Friday
  • Lucius Antonius surrenders to Octavian
  • Treaty of Brundisium: The treaty is cemented by the marriage of Mark Antony and Octavia, sister of Octavian
  • Athenodorus a philosopher, encounters a ghost in Athens
  • Parthians conquer Jerusalem
  • Births: the twins of Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Mark Antony

In Geography

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I-40 – a U.S. interstate connecting California to North Carolina

40 – National highways in Argentina, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, UK, and USA

40th Parallel South – crosses land in Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina

40th Parallel North – crosses land in Spain, Italy, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, North Korea, Japan, USA, and Portugal

40th Meridian West – crosses Greenland, Brazil, and Antarctica

4oth Meridian East – crosses Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Antarctica

40-Step Stairway – historical place in Busan, South Korea

Forty Foot – a promontory on the southern tip of Dublin Bay, Ireland where people have been swimming in the Irish Sea all year round for hundreds of years

Forty Shades of Green is a visual term for rural Ireland

40 – the code for direct dial international phone calls to Romania

WD-40 – a popular penetrating oil whose name stands for the 40th formula of Water Displacement

Here’s #2 on the Billboard Charts from 40 years ago today – April 2, 1977 – our wedding day

35 thoughts on “On 40

  1. thanks for the ear worms… grumble grumble… darn you, Frank!
    I am so looking forward to Opening Day! Interesting look into the number 40–always learn a bit here at your blog. That is a good thing 🙂
    Happy Sunday! ~ Cheers from a 40 something blogger

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes! Happy Sunday, aFA. Portland’s Rose Festival festivities have begun….the Dragon Boats have been christened and celebrated on the Willamette River for another year! Weather is warming, the daffs are up and blooming, and our glorious roses are leafy-green and getting ready to show their Rose Festival best!!!! Perfect time for a visit….say June-ish? Perfect! Top of the morning……!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yay! I feel like I can make a contribution because I just came back from Venice. The word “Quaratine” came from the Italian for 40 – quaranta because, as you mentioned, this is how long the ships were required to stay in isolation before unloading cargo and passengers. Love your number research (but 34 is STILL my favorite ;))

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Happy Anniversary, Frank! Nice no2 on Billboard at the time! Here’s to a happy life together! I raise the glass to you two 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷 yamas!
    [good to see the return of Salutes to Numbers]

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marina,
      Many thanks for the recognition and the toast. I usually save numbers for occasions as birthdays and anniversaries … so give my birthday was February, I should come up with something for between now and then..

      Liked by 1 person

  5. All I can say is this is one impressive list, Frank! You’ve added and calculated elements that go way over my head! You know your stuff! And my contribution to 40 is that this month my youngest child turns 40. Now THAT is sobering! 🙂 Thanks for ABBA–a favorite anytime!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debra,
      Many thanks … gathering the facts is easy, but can be time consuming … organizing them is the important challenge. Glad you enjoyed Abba … and Happy 40th to your youngest!


  6. I’m always impressed with these number posts you do. I am interested in everything you note, and the lists are almost endless. Really, Frank, these posts are fabulous.
    Rich Girl is fun, but I’m not one…. unless …

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy 40th Anniversary Frank! I don’t know if “40 is the new 20” logic applies to marriages or not but here’s hoping for many more regardless of the calculation. Opening Day went to the Phils…but if the Reds could have gotten one or two key hits the game certainly could have gone the other way. I’ve always hated the “day off” following openers that baseball loves to schedule but in this case it does mean the Phils will be undefeated for at least another day.


    • Bruce,
      Thanks for the anniversary wishes … and doing a numbers post is a way I celebrate. 🙂

      I didn’t make it to Opening Day as we made the mistake of trusting the weather reports. … Of course it didn’t rain a drop during the festivities we wanted to attend.

      Hitting with RISP has been a Reds bugaboo for 10+ years, and if the opener is a sign of things to come, the trend continues. The young Phillies need to stay the course!

      Although the Reds no longer open the season for the league, at least MLB lets the tradition of them opening at home continue … which also means the next day is an off day. (I’ve never liked that.)

      Liked by 1 person

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