arith·​me·​tic | \ ə-ˈrith-mə-ˌtik How to pronounce arithmetic (audio) \

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 How to pronounce arithmetic (audio) , ˌa-​rith-​ \ or arithmetical \ ˌer-​ith-​ˈme-​ti-​kəl How to pronounce arithmetic (audio) , ˌa-​rith-​ \ adjective
arithmetically \ ˌer-​ith-​ˈme-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce arithmetic (audio) , ˌa-​rith-​ \ adverb
arithmetician \ ə-​ˌrith-​mə-​ˈti-​shən How to pronounce arithmetic (audio) \ 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 As in the three previous votes, the political arithmetic is tight, with both pro- and anti-Netanyahu blocs possibly unable to secure a governing mandate. Washington Post, "In both Jordan and Israel, there’s talk of a coup," 6 Apr. 2021 In many cases, those prices have recovered to close-to-normal levels, but in the arithmetic of annual inflation, that won’t matter. New York Times, "Is Inflation About to Take Off? That’s the Wrong Question," 16 Jan. 2021 The mortal arithmetic here is easy to do—and argues strongly in favor of getting the shots. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "Too Many Americans Still Mistrust the COVID-19 Vaccines. Here's Why," 5 Jan. 2021 As of right now, that mental arithmetic is pushing Dávila and Lyons toward the needle. Author: Michael S. Rosenwald, Anchorage Daily News, "‘A needle makes my blood run cold’: Will the phobic get the coronavirus vaccine?," 27 Dec. 2020 In the strange arithmetic created by the playoff, that win against Clemson now looks stronger. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Clemson rolls to another ACC championship and sends warning to playoff field," 20 Dec. 2020 Those who run all kinds of sports leagues — but most notably those who run college football and basketball — are doing their own arithmetic. Mike Finger,, "Mike Finger: When risk is weighed against reward, some miscalculate," 29 Nov. 2020 Her advantage in the popular vote of nearly 3 million has animated the grievances of her supporters to this day, but the Electoral College arithmetic was inexorable and not to be challenged. Michael Tackett And Calvin Woodward, Star Tribune, "Trump putting democracy to the test after his loss to Biden," 14 Nov. 2020 This effectively reduced a question about infinity to an easier problem about the arithmetic of a few numbers. Quanta Magazine, "Computer Search Settles 90-Year-Old Math Problem," 19 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for arithmetic

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for arithmetic

Last Updated

18 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Arithmetic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for arithmetic



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 How to pronounce arithmetic (audio) \

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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