number theory


Definition of number theory 

: the study of the properties of integers

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from number theory

number theoretic adjective
number theorist noun

Examples of number theory in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Over the past century, however, some arcane theorems from 18th-century number theory (that is, the study of whole numbers) were used to dream up one of the most powerful modern encryption systems. Eugenia Cheng, WSJ, "Secret Codes Built on Very Large Numbers," 3 Oct. 2018 Gauss -- whose full name is Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss -- made significant contributions to many fields of mathematics and science, including algebra, number theory, differential geometry, geophysics, magnetic fields and optics. Taylor Weatherby, Billboard, "Google Doodle Honors Late Mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss on His 241st Birthday," 30 Apr. 2018 Wu said cybersecurity and cryptography can benefit from his work because much of it is based on prime numbers and number theory. Erin B. Logan, Washington Post, "She’s a champion science student. But she loves history. What should she do?," 6 May 2018 The English mathematician is arguably best known for cracking Fermat’s Last Theorem​, a 358-year-old number theory, in 1995. Janice Williams, Newsweek, "Smartest Person Alive? Paul Allen And 4 Others That Could Be After Stephen Hawking's Death," 14 Mar. 2018 Astronomy and number theory should properly be viewed as quantitative kin to, say, theology and art history. Deirdre N. Mccloskey, WSJ, "Economics With a Human Face," 13 Sep. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of number theory

1864, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about number theory

Share number theory

Statistics for number theory

Last Updated

20 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for number theory

The first known use of number theory was in 1864

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on number theory Encyclopedia article about number theory

Comments on number theory

What made you want to look up number theory? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


having a pattern of small flowers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!