number

noun
num·​ber | \ ˈnəm-bər How to pronounce number (audio) \

Definition of number

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : a sum of units : total the number of people in the hall
(2) : complement sense 1b(1) … the whole number of Senators …U.S. Constitution
(3) : an indefinite usually large total a number of members were absent the number of elderly is rising
(4) numbers plural : a numerous group : many numbers died on the way— Marjory S. Douglas
(5) : a numerical preponderance (see preponderance sense 2) There's safety in numbers.
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 there is a limited number of such laboratories— P. D. Close
(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 a number divisible by 2 especially : natural number
(2) : an element (such as π) of any of many mathematical systems obtained by extension of or analogy with the natural number system
(3) numbers plural : arithmetic Teach children their numbers.
2 : a distinction of word form to denote reference to one or more than one A subject and its verb should agree in number. also : a form or group of forms so distinguished
3 numbers plural
a(1) : metrical structure : meter … most by numbers judge a poet's song.— Alexander Pope
(2) : metrical lines : verses These numbers will I tear, and write in prose.— Shakespeare
b archaic : musical sounds : notes
4a : a word, symbol, letter, or combination of symbols representing a number Spell out the numbers one through ten.
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 (such as an issue of a periodical) just received issue number 8 of the magazine
(2) : a position in a numbered sequence You're number 7 on the waiting list.
d : a group of one kind not of their number
5 : one singled out from a group : individual: such as
a : girl, woman met an attractive number at the dance
b(1) : a musical, theatrical, or literary selection or production The actors broke into a song and dance number.
(2) : routine, act The comedian's number had the audience laughing out loud.
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 put that black velvet number with the sequins on the blonde dummy— Bennett Cerf
6 : insight into a person's ability or character had my number
7 numbers plural in form but singular or plural in construction
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

8 numbers plural
a : figures representing amounts of money usually in dollars spent, earned, or involved We won't be able to stay in business with numbers like these.
b(1) : statistics sense 2 especially : individual statistics (as of an athlete) Her numbers make her the most valuable member of the team.
9 : a person represented by a number or considered without regard to individuality at the university I was just a number
10 : lifetime sense 1a used with up the old feeling that comes to men in combat … that your number was up— Geoffrey Norman
by the numbers
1 : in unison to a specific count or cadence
2 : in a systematic, routine, or mechanical manner a program run not by the numbers but with concern for the participants
number table

number

verb
numbered; numbering\ ˈnəm-​b(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce number (audio) \

Definition of number (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

2 : to claim as part of a total : include
3 : to restrict to a definite number your days are numbered
4 : to assign a number to number the pages
5 : to amount to in number : total the crew numbers 100

intransitive verb

1 : to reach a total number
2 : to call off numbers in sequence

Other Words from number

Verb

numberable \ ˈnəm-​b(ə-​)rə-​bəl How to pronounce number (audio) \ adjective
numberer \ ˈnəm-​bər-​ər How to pronounce number (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for number

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Amount vs. Number: Usage Guide

Noun

Number is regularly used with count nouns a large number of mistakes any number of times while amount is mainly used with mass nouns. annual amount of rainfall a substantial amount of money The use of amount with count nouns has been frequently criticized; it usually occurs when the number of things is thought of as a mass or collection glad to furnish any amount of black pebbles New Yorker a substantial amount of film offers — Lily Tomlin or when money is involved. a substantial amount of loans — E. R. Black

Examples of number in a Sentence

Noun the numbers and letters on a license plate a three-digit number like 429 Think of a number between one and one hundred. 2, 4, 6, and 8 are even numbers; 1, 3, 5, and 7 are odd numbers. Never give out your credit card number to anyone over the phone. What's the account number on your electricity bill? The page numbers are on the top corner of each page. Today's winning lottery numbers are 17, 8, and 46. I'm waiting for the number 3 bus. Verb She numbers and arranges the photographs according to when they were taken. Each print is signed and numbered by the artist. The team's coach bought all the players numbered jerseys. In that year, European settlers in the area numbered nearly 15,000. The animal, which once numbered in the millions, is now extinct. He numbers her with the other great poets of the time. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun At his news conference last week, Powell said the Fed’s goal was to raise rates to cool borrowing and spending so that companies would reduce their huge number of job openings. The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 May 2022 His number 16 was retired by Bucks in 1984 and by the Pistons in 1993. Abigail Adams, PEOPLE.com, 11 May 2022 After Georgia’s deputy secretary of state blocked Meadows from entering the room where officials were matching voter signatures, Meadows struck up a conversation with her office’s chief investigator, Frances Watson, and got her phone number. Michael Kranish, Anchorage Daily News, 11 May 2022 Google recently started allowing users to remove their personal information from search results, including their phone number, email, and home address. Megan Mccluskey, Time, 11 May 2022 Forty-one states and territories have reported increases of 10% or more in their daily number of COVID-19-related hospital admissions. Arielle Mitropoulos, ABC News, 9 May 2022 Oregon State honored former coach Pat Casey and retired his number during a pregame ceremony. oregonlive, 7 May 2022 If that happens, then the 76ers could become convinced that Embiid has his number. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 7 May 2022 Russia lost another warship on Thursday, bringing its total number of losses at sea to 12. Katya Soldak, Forbes, 7 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Don’t number them, don’t put little bullets or other thingamajigs before them, don’t use tabs or make them into a table. Washington Post, 7 Apr. 2022 The NATO Response Force can number up to 40,000 troops, but Stoltenberg said NATO would not be deploying the entire force. Arkansas Online, 26 Feb. 2022 California transfer students would number 1,964 for on-campus enrollment for fall. Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, 11 Mar. 2022 The deployments would number approximately 1,000 personnel to each country and would be similar to the forward battle groups currently stationed in the Baltic States and Poland. Matthew Chance, CNN, 27 Jan. 2022 His aim is to mobilize his own brigade of Ukraine’s IT Army, an international group of hackers that may already number more than 400,000, according to a Ukrainian official. Ally Markovich, San Francisco Chronicle, 7 Mar. 2022 Blockaded by its neighbors, Qatar resorted to airlifting cows from Europe to keep the milk flowing to its people, who number fewer than 400,000. NBC News, 13 Sep. 2021 About 600 miles northwest of Vancouver, Canada lies the home of the Wet'suwet'en, a First Nations people who currently number about 3,000. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, 23 Nov. 2021 Surprise medical bills, which can number in the millions each year, are a major concern for many patients. Tami Luhby, CNN, 28 Dec. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of number

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for number

Noun and Verb

Middle English nombre, from Anglo-French, from Latin numerus

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Time Traveler for number

Time Traveler

The first known use of number was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near number

numbat

number

number agreement

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Statistics for number

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Number.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/number. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for number

number

noun
num·​ber | \ ˈnəm-bər How to pronounce number (audio) \

Kids Definition of number

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the total of persons, things, or units taken together : amount What is the number of people in the room?
2 : a total that is not specified … the mermaids come up in extraordinary numbers to play with their bubbles.— J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan
3 : a unit belonging to a mathematical system and subject to its rules Tell me a number divisible by 2.
4 : a word, symbol, or letter used to represent a mathematical number : numeral the number 5
5 : a certain numeral for telling one person or thing from another or from others a house number
6 : a quality of a word form that shows whether the word is singular or plural A verb agrees in number with its subject.
7 : one of a series You're number seven on the waiting list.
8 : a song or dance usually that is part of a larger performance The band played a catchy number.

number

verb
numbered; numbering

Kids Definition of number (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : count entry 1 sense 1 The grains of sand cannot be numbered.
2 : include I was numbered among the guests.
3 : to limit to a certain number Vacation days are numbered now.
4 : to give a number to Number the pages of your journal.
5 : to add up to or have a total of Our group numbered ten in all.

More from Merriam-Webster on number

Nglish: Translation of number for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of number for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about number

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