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.
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 upthe 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 numbering (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 numberable (audio) \ adjective
numberer \ ˈnəm-​bər-​ər How to pronounce numberer (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 total number of murders in the city in July climbed 139% compared to the same month in 2019. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Thirty-six of 50 largest cities experience double-digit rise in homicides in 2020," 3 Aug. 2020 This brings the total number of minors who have died in relation to the virus in Florida to seven. Claire Colbert, CNN, "Two teens in Florida die of coronavirus complications," 3 Aug. 2020 The latest positive tests bring the city’s total number to 4,289 cases and 89 deaths. Jane Morice | Jmorice@cleveland.com, cleveland, "Cleveland reports 28 newly confirmed coronavirus cases, one new fatality: Sunday update," 3 Aug. 2020 The total number of infections detected in the Philippines exceeded 100,000 on Sunday, when the country reported more than 5,000 new cases, its largest single-day surge. Washington Post, "Live updates: U.S. enters ‘new phase’ as coronavirus outbreaks become ‘extraordinarily widespread,’ says Birx," 3 Aug. 2020 Sunday’s figures brought the total number of cases in Nevada to 50,205. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "Electric Daisy Carnival officially canceled for 2020, rescheduled for May 2021," 3 Aug. 2020 Mobile County recorded 532 new coronavirus cases since yesterday, as Alabama’s total number of cases climbed to more than 88,000. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, "1 Alabama county adds 532 new coronavirus cases; another 2,031 cases statewide," 2 Aug. 2020 Hospitalizations increased by 67, bringing the total number of hospitalizations to 10,857. Briana Rice, The Enquirer, "Coronavirus in Ohio: 928 new cases, 26 deaths reported Saturday," 1 Aug. 2020 The moratorium covered more than 12 million households, or about 30% of all renters, but the total number of Americans possibly facing eviction is much higher. CBS News, "43 million Americans at risk of eviction as relief programs and moratorium expire: "It's a nightmare"," 31 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb By the end of the war, Tuve’s staff would number over 1,000. Jamie Holmes, Wired, "The American Scientists Who Saved London From Nazi Drones," 4 Aug. 2020 Among them are temporary workers, who number as many as 60,000 every year to work in agriculture and food production. Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor, "Migrants have helped Canada weather the pandemic. Will it return the favor?," 7 July 2020 Of these men, half were Adivasis—members of India’s indigenous tribes, who number a little over 100 million. Gladson Dungdung, Scientific American, "India's Coronavirus Refugees Are Also Development Refugees," 20 June 2020 Kentucky was among the 27 states with limited or no workplace protections for the LGBTQ community, who number roughly 11 million nationwide. Chris Kenning, The Courier-Journal, "Supreme Court's LGBTQ ruling 'historic,' but advocates say gaps remain in Kentucky," 15 June 2020 The nursing home industry says money is one of the main obstacles to widespread testing, particularly to pay for testing of staff, who number more than 1 million people. Anchorage Daily News, "Nearly 26,000 nursing home residents died during coronavirus pandemic, government report shows," 1 June 2020 Murphy said contact tracers, who get in touch with people suspected of having exposure to the virus, can number 4,000 in August, if cases resurge. Bloomberg.com, "Record Jump in Texas; WHO Warns on Latin America: Virus Update," 2 Mar. 2020 If EA Sports corrects Way’s handedness attribute in the future, his days as Brito’s not-so-secret weapon could be numbered. Washington Post, "Raidel ‘Joke’ Brito wins Madden Bowl title ... with Tress Way at QB?," 19 May 2020 But Molina’s days were numbered as soon as the Giants selected Buster Posey with the fifth pick in the 2008 draft. Henry Schulman, SFChronicle.com, "10 Giants from 2010: Bengie Molina still hurt by midyear trade, jeers from fans," 6 May 2020

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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Statistics for number

Last Updated

6 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Number.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/number. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for number

number

noun
How to pronounce number (audio)

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.

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Comments on number

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