1 a (1)
: a sum of units : total
- the number of people in the hall
: complement 1b
- … the whole number of Senators …
- —U.S. Constitution
: an indefinite usually large total
- a number of members were absent
- the number of elderly is rising
: a numerous group : many
- numbers died on the way
- —Marjory S. Douglas
: a numerical preponderance (see preponderance 2)
- There's safety in numbers.
: 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
: an ascertainable total
: a unit belonging to an abstract mathematical system and subject to specified laws of succession, addition, and multiplication ;
: natural number
: an element (such as π) of any of many mathematical systems obtained by extension of or analogy with the natural number system
- Teach children their numbers.
: a distinction of word form to denote reference to one or more than one
: a form or group of forms so distinguished
- A subject and its verb should agree in number.
: metrical structure : meter
- … most by numbers judge a poet's song.
- —Alexander Pope
: metrical lines : verses
- These numbers will I tear, and write in prose.
: musical sounds : notes
: a word, symbol, letter, or combination of symbols representing a number
- Spell out the numbers one through ten.
: a numeral or combination of numerals or other symbols used to identify or designate
: 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
: a position in a numbered sequence
- You're number 7 on the waiting list.
: one singled out from a group : individual: such as
: girl, woman
- met an attractive number at the dance
: a musical, theatrical, or literary selection or production
- The actors broke into a song and dance number.
: routine, act
- The comedian's number had the audience laughing out loud.
: an act of transforming or impairing
- tripped and did a number on her knee
: an item of merchandise and especially clothing
- put that black velvet number with the sequins on the blonde dummy
- —Bennett Cerf
: insight into a person's ability or character
numbers plural in form but singular or plural in construction
: 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
: 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.
: statistics 2;
: individual statistics (as of an athlete)
- Her numbers make her the most valuable member of the team.
: 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
by the numbers
: in unison to a specific count or cadence
: in a systematic, routine, or mechanical manner
- a program run not by the numbers but with concern for the participants