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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The average number of new daily cases in the city jumped by nearly 40% over the previous week, officials said. BostonGlobe.com, 25 July 2021 Under a tight schedule, Sullivan had held up two fingers, then one, to signal to Mr. Mason the number of minutes remaining for his act. Washington Post, 25 July 2021 Keeping separation could reduce the number of people injured if lightning strikes. Shanti Lerner, The Arizona Republic, 25 July 2021 Even as the number of Black and brown athletes rises, diversity among coaching, club ownership, judging and representation at the top levels of USA Gymnastics remains very much a work in progress. Will Graves, San Francisco Chronicle, 24 July 2021 Proud House moderates are rare in an age where redistricting has reduced the number of seats whose territories aren’t hyper-ideological in favor of one party or the other. Will Weissert, ajc, 24 July 2021 The official China Daily newspaper and other media said the number included just Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 24 July 2021 There has been a migrant surge so far in 2021, with 188,829 migrant encounters at the southern border reported in June by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), nearly double the 104,311 number encountered in the same month in 2019. Bill Melugin, Fox News, 24 July 2021 Since then, the number jumped to 14.3% as of July 19, the last day for which data was available. Ramsey Archibald | Rarchibald@al.com, al, 24 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The highlanders, who number some three million, also developed agriculture independently some 9,000 years ago, as long as 6,000 years before later migrations of individuals brought such practices to Papua New Guinea’s lowlands. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 July 2021 Transgender people were counted in Pakistan’s census for the first time in 2017, when they were said to officially number 10,418 in the country of more than 200 million people. NBC News, 1 June 2021 Alzheimer’s patients, who currently number more than 6 million. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 17 June 2021 Shah specializes in South Asian weddings, which typically include two to three days of events and guest lists that number up to 800. Stephanie Cain, Fortune, 2 June 2021 But can that scale in a marketplace where transactions might number in the billions? Rick Prelinger, Wired, 20 Apr. 2021 There are now law offices across America that have stacks of papers waiting on their desks to be filed with the court clerks and delivered by process servers to cause evictions that will probably number in the millions. Jay Adkisson, Forbes, 17 Apr. 2021 In the midst of contemporary reckonings about the rights of women and people of color, Williamsburg is giving guests — who number about 550,000 in a normal year — the historical backstories. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 22 May 2021 The main issue with conventional HAWT windfarms – which can number 60 to 70 turbines over 1500 acres – is that efficiency degrades rapidly in the back rows due to turbulence from the first rows of the formation. Ariel Cohen, Forbes, 20 May 2021

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.

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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

26 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Number.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/number. Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for number

number

noun

English Language Learners Definition of number

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

number

verb

English Language Learners Definition of number (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give a number to (someone or something in a series) : to label or identify (people or things in a series) with a number
somewhat formal : to include (someone or something) as part of a larger group

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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