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 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

digit, figure, integer, numeral, numeric, whole number

Synonyms: Verb

count, enumerate, tell

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Sources close to the star told TMZ that the number is actually closer to $1 million per Instagram post, and that the legal documents in question will likely be refiled to reflect that. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Kim Kardashian Apparently Makes $1 Million Per Instagram Post," 4 May 2019 The number next to it is a measure of how much solar energy is required to produce a sunburn on protected skin — as the SPF value increases, so does sunburn protection. Jessica Chia, Allure, "The Sunscreen Glossary: A Comprehensive Guide to Everything You Need to Know About SPF," 4 May 2019 Based on a 1996 estimate, the number of uncertified claims could be as high as 200,000, with a value in the tens of billions of dollars, Ms. Breier said. Mengqi Sun, WSJ, "Companies in Cuba Face Legal Risks as U.S. Changes Stance on Seized Property," 2 May 2019 The number of new monitors isn’t quite as impressive as that percentage sounds, as Nvidia’s new certification program is still in its early days—though any increase is appreciated. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Nvidia's next Game Ready driver will add 7 new G-Sync Compatible displays," 17 Apr. 2019 The number three is a recurring theme in the Targaryen family. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Jon Snow Did a Very Targaryen Thing in the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premiere," 15 Apr. 2019 For many women of color, the number is lower — black women make about 61 cents on the dollar compared with men, while Latina women make 53 cents. Anna North, Vox, "You’ve heard that women make 80 cents to men’s dollar. It’s much worse than that.," 2 Apr. 2019 It's estimated that the actor is worth around $1.5 or $2 million, but that number is sure to rise very quickly. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Noah Centineo's Large Net Worth is All Thanks to Netflix," 27 Mar. 2019 But what really impresses me are the number of designers from the past and present that have evolved their voice. Joanna Saltz, House Beautiful, "5 Interior Designers Reveal the Risks That Could've Failed Spectacularly—And How They Survived," 11 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

South Korea also says all North Koreans who have come to the South since the 1990s, numbering more than 30,000, have done so voluntarily. New York Times, "North Korean Waitresses’ Defection May Have Been Forced, U.N. Official Says," 10 July 2018 The community numbered more than 80,000 in the 1970s, but today only around 1,000 remain in the country. Rahim Faiez, chicagotribune.com, "Suicide bomber targets Sikhs, Hindus in Afghanistan; 19 dead," 1 July 2018 In 2016 drug overdose deaths numbered 63,000, more than the U.S. death toll from the entire Vietnam War. The Editors, Scientific American, "Addicts Should Be Able to Shoot Up Legally in Safe-Injection Facilities," 27 June 2018 Conservationists are continuing to focus on saving this species in addition to the southern white rhino, a species numbering around 20,000. National Geographic, "After Last Male's Death, Is the Northern White Rhino Doomed?," 20 Mar. 2018 Some 70,000 of its fighters (who numbered perhaps 100,000 at their peak) are thought to have been killed. The Economist, "Islamic State has been stashing millions of dollars in Iraq and abroad," 22 Feb. 2018 Koreans are one of the larger Asian groups in Anchorage, numbering as many as 7,000, according to community estimates. Julia O'malley, Anchorage Daily News, "In the aisles of Anchorage groceries, Kim Sunée collects flavors of Korea," 20 Feb. 2018 No party affiliation/independent voters — who make up a larger share of Broward registered voters than the Republicans — numbered 330,000 last year, up 69 percent from 2007. Anthony Man, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Republicans hope to reverse declining fortunes in Broward," 2 Feb. 2018 The organization of laundry tech lovers numbers 3,000 strong. Rollin Bishop, Popular Mechanics, "The Vintage Washing Machine Club That Gets Together To Do Laundry," 21 Sep. 2015

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about number

Statistics for number

Last Updated

9 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for number

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on number

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with number

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for number

Spanish Central: Translation of number

Nglish: Translation of number for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of number for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about number

Comments on number

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a sum of money that is sent as a payment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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