nu·​mer·​acy | \ˈn(y)üm-rə-sē, ˈn(y)ü-mə-\

Definition of numeracy 

: ability to understand and work with numbers : the quality or state of being numerate The quality of education at the school is outstanding. Levels of literacy and numeracy are exceptionally good and the number of children requiring remedial attention is low.— Ruth Rendell et al. Literacy, numeracy and a sense of scientific problem-solving are the fundamental underpinnings of education for everybody, rich and poor alike.— David Hamburg

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Other Words from numeracy

numerate \ˈnüm-​rət, ˈnü-​mə-​; ˈnyüm-​, ˈnyü-​mə-​ \ adjective

Examples of numeracy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Tell us a little more about numeracy and innumeracy. Sandy Bauers,, "Fear of math is harmful to your health. This woman wants to help.," 29 June 2018 Perhaps most fundamentally, Mr. Hobart glosses over the complex relations between literacy and numeracy within science. David J. Davis, WSJ, "‘The Great Rift’ Review: From Comity to Culture War," 11 July 2018 An ability to write informatively, succinctly and wittily, combined with numeracy and curiosity, matter more than prior experience. The Economist, "Business writer," 19 Apr. 2018 However defined, health literacy is related to literacy and numeracy more generally. Austin Frakt, New York Times, "Kentucky’s New Idea for Medicaid Access: Pass Health Literacy Course," 22 Jan. 2018 Features dozens of pieces with a Letters and Numbers theme to promote literacy and numeracy., "exhibits for families," 28 Mar. 2018 People with low skills in other forms of literacy or numeracy also have lower health literacy. Austin Frakt, New York Times, "Kentucky’s New Idea for Medicaid Access: Pass Health Literacy Course," 22 Jan. 2018 One example is a program in Niger that used exercises on a mobile phone to improve reading and numeracy in adult education. Selena Randhawa, CNN, "WiFi-equipped school buses help students get online," 31 Oct. 2017 Teachers give multiple tests each year, many requiring large blocks of time to test individual children on long lists of specific skills mainly in literacy and numeracy. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "Early childhood education expert: I saw a brilliant way to teach kids. Unfortunately it wasn’t in the United States.," 31 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'numeracy.' 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 numeracy

1959, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for numeracy

Latin numerus number + English -acy (as in literacy)

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Statistics for numeracy

Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for numeracy

The first known use of numeracy was in 1959

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the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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