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I know one can say [hundreds digit] + "cento" for centuries from the twelveth to the twentieth, e.g. "Quattrocento" for the fifteenth century. But if I want to say "Ventunesimo secolo", can I say "il Diecicento"?

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  • 1
    Welcome to Italian.SE!
    – Charo
    May 3 '18 at 17:21
  • "Il ventesimo secolo" is "Novecento".
    – Charo
    May 3 '18 at 17:22
  • Ventunesimo, sorry. I updated the question.
    – Abcdefg
    May 3 '18 at 17:30
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No, you can't say “diecicento”. The expression “il Quattrocento” is short for “il Millequattrocento”, meaning the fifteenth century (or, more precisely, the years starting from 1400 to 1499). Usually, “il Quattrocento”, “il Cinquecento” and so on are referred to the artistic or historical peculiarities of the century: for instance, *il barocco è tipico del Seicento, ma si estende anche nel primo Settecento”.

Note that “Quattrocento” is much shorter than “il quindicesimo secolo”, one of the reasons the former may be preferred.

I don't think anybody has ever said “il Cento” for the twelfth century. Anyway, the idea is that the initial “mille” is dropped; you can't drop “duemila”, at least for the time being.

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  • At least in theory, it wouldn't be "il Duemilacento" just as the XII is sometimes called "il Millecento"?
    – Charo
    May 3 '18 at 17:45
  • @Charo That would be the 22nd century.
    – egreg
    May 3 '18 at 17:50
  • Sorry, that's true! It would be "il Duemila" (in theory).
    – Charo
    May 3 '18 at 17:55
  • Usually, "il Duemila" is used to denote the year 2000 not the whole century; if you want to generically refer to the years from 2000 and above, I have heard the expression is "gli anni duemila" May 4 '18 at 15:37

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