noun \ˈnəm-bər\

: a word or symbol (such as “five” or “16”) that represents a specific amount or quantity

: a number or a set of numbers and other symbols that is used to identify a person or thing

: a person who is identified by a number and not treated in a personal or friendly way

Full Definition of NUMBER

a (1) :  a sum of units :  total (2) :  complement 1b (3) :  an indefinite usually large total <a number of members were absent> <the number of elderly is rising> (4) plural :  a numerous group :  many (5) :  a numerical preponderance
b (1) :  the characteristic of an individual by which it is treated as a unit or of a collection by which it is treated in terms of units
(2) :  an ascertainable total <bugs beyond number>
c (1) :  a unit belonging to an abstract mathematical system and subject to specified laws of succession, addition, and multiplication; especially :  natural number
(2) :  an element (as π) of any of many mathematical systems obtained by extension of or analogy with the natural number system (3) plural :  arithmetic
:  a distinction of word form to denote reference to one or more than one; also :  a form or group of forms so distinguished
a (1) :  metrical structure :  meter
(2) :  metrical lines :  verses
b archaic :  musical sounds :  notes
a :  a word, symbol, letter, or combination of symbols representing a number
b :  a numeral or combination of numerals or other symbols used to identify or designate <dialed the wrong number>
c (1) :  a member of a sequence or collection designated by especially consecutive numbers (as an issue of a periodical)
(2) :  a position in a numbered sequence
d :  a group of one kind <not of their number>
:  one singled out from a group :  individual: as
a :  girl, woman <met an attractive number at the dance>
b (1) :  a musical, theatrical, or literary selection or production
(2) :  routine, act
c :  stunt, trick
d :  an act of transforming or impairing <tripped and did a number on her knee>
e :  an item of merchandise and especially clothing
:  insight into a person's ability or character <had my number>
plural but sing or plural in constr
a :  a form of lottery in which an individual wagers on the appearance of a certain combination of digits (as in regularly published numbers) —called also numbers game
b :  2policy 2a
a :  figures representing amounts of money usually in dollars spent, earned, or involved
b (1) :  statistics 2; especially :  individual statistics (as of an athlete)
(2) :  rating 3c
:  a person represented by a number or considered without regard to individuality <at the university I was just a number>
:  lifetime 1a —used with up <the old feeling that comes to men in combat … that your number was up — Geoffrey Norman>
See Usage Discussion at amount
number table

Examples of NUMBER

  1. the numbers and letters on a license plate
  2. a three-digit number like 429
  3. Think of a number between one and one hundred.
  4. The number 7{frac3 is greater than the number 7.25.
  5. 2, 4, 6, and 8 are even numbers; 1, 3, 5, and 7 are odd numbers.
  6. Never give out your credit card number to anyone over the phone.
  7. What's the account number on your electricity bill?
  8. The page numbers are on the top corner of each page.
  9. Today's winning lottery numbers are 17, 8, and 46.
  10. I'm waiting for the number 3 bus.

Origin of NUMBER

Middle English nombre, from Anglo-French, from Latin numerus
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Mathematics and Statistics Terms

abscissa, denominator, divisor, equilateral, exponent, hypotenuse, logarithm, oblique, radii, rhomb

Rhymes with NUMBER



: to give a number to (someone or something in a series) : to label or identify (people or things in a series) with a number

: to include (someone or something) as part of a larger group

num·berednum·ber·ing \-b(ə-)riŋ\

Full Definition of NUMBER

transitive verb
:  to claim as part of a total :  include
:  to restrict to a definite number <your days are numbered>
:  to assign a number to <number the pages>
:  to amount to in number :  total <the crew numbers 100>
intransitive verb
:  to reach a total number
:  to call off numbers in sequence
num·ber·able \-b(ə-)rə-bəl\ adjective
num·ber·er \-bər-ər\ noun

Examples of NUMBER

  1. She numbers and arranges the photographs according to when they were taken.
  2. Each print is signed and numbered by the artist.
  3. The team's coach bought all the players numbered jerseys.
  4. In that year, European settlers in the area numbered nearly 15,000.
  5. The animal, which once numbered in the millions, is now extinct.
  6. He numbers her with the other great poets of the time.

First Known Use of NUMBER

14th century


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Basic element of mathematics used for counting, measuring, solving equations, and comparing quantities. They fall into several categories. The counting numbers are the familiar 1, 2, 3 . . . ; whole numbers are the counting numbers and zero; integers are the whole numbers and the negative counting numbers; and the rational numbers are all possible quotients formed by integers, including fractions. These numbers can be symbolically represented by terminating or repeating decimals. Irrational numbers cannot be represented by fractions of integers or repeating decimals and must be represented by special symbols such as , e, and . Together, the rational and irrational numbers constitute the real numbers, which form an algebraic field (see field theory), as do the complex numbers. While the counting numbers and rational numbers come about as the means of counting, calculating, and measuring, the others arose as means of solving equations. See also transcendental number.


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