arith·​me·​tic | \ə-ˈrith-mə-ˌtik \

Definition of arithmetic 

1a : a branch of mathematics that deals usually with the nonnegative real numbers including sometimes the transfinite cardinals and with the application of the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to them

b : a treatise on arithmetic

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Other Words from arithmetic

arithmetic \ˌer-​ith-​ˈme-​tik, ˌa-​rith \ or arithmetical \-​ti-​kəl \ adjective
arithmetically \-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb
arithmetician \ə-​ˌrith-​mə-​ˈti-​shən \ noun

Examples of arithmetic in a Sentence

a software program that will do the arithmetic for you I haven't actually done the arithmetic yet, but I suspect we're losing money on the deal.

Recent Examples on the Web

President Trump appears to believe that the same arithmetic that led Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to accommodate the U.S. on trade applies to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "Trump’s Instincts Triumph on Trade," 1 Oct. 2018 And once it’s shaped and hardened, the rest is just arithmetic and money. John Kass,, "For Mayor Globe-trotter, it's the money that matters," 13 July 2018 Mrs May’s biggest problem will be parliamentary arithmetic. The Economist, "What doesn’t kill her makes Theresa May stronger," 12 July 2018 The theory of the arithmetic of remainders is a part of pure mathematics that was long considered useless. Eugenia Cheng, WSJ, "How Numbers Can Check Themselves," 20 June 2018 Plus, even if that arithmetic were possible, Harvard prides itself as an institution where students learn from each other in addition to their professors. Alia Wong, The Atlantic, "Harvard's Impossible Personality Test," 19 June 2018 To read a Gadfly column on the arithmetic of Aramco’s IPO, click here. Javier Blas,, "Aramco Gets Cool Response on IPO From U.S. Investors," 16 Mar. 2018 The fate of another ballot question — emanating from legislation passed in Tallahassee in reaction to the Feb. 14 mass school shooting in Parkland — also could play into the county’s budget arithmetic. Jerry Fallstrom,, "Lake says not enough money to fund sheriff's $9.8 million budget increase request," 13 July 2018 Most often, plane travel for scientific research or any other reason is a personal choice carved out of an arithmetic of time, convenience, and expense. Mejs Hasan, WIRED, "New University Rules Encourage Scientists to Avoid Air Travel," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arithmetic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of arithmetic

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for arithmetic

Middle English arsmetrik, from Anglo-French arismatike, from Latin arithmetica, from Greek arithmētikē, from feminine of arithmētikos arithmetical, from arithmein to count, from arithmos number; akin to Old English rīm number, and perhaps to Greek arariskein to fit

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Last Updated

24 Nov 2018

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The first known use of arithmetic was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of arithmetic

: a branch of mathematics that deals with numbers and their addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division

: the act or process of calculating a number


arith·​me·​tic | \ə-ˈrith-mə-ˌtik \

Kids Definition of arithmetic

1 : a science that deals with the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of numbers

2 : an act or method of adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing

Other Words from arithmetic

arithmetic \ˌer-​ith-​ˈme-​tik \ or arithmetical \-​ti-​kəl \ adjective

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