quan·​ti·​ty | \ˈkwän-tə-tē \
plural quantities

Definition of quantity 

1a : an indefinite amount or number

b : a determinate or estimated amount

c : total amount or number

d : a considerable amount or number often used in plural generous quantities of luck— H. E. Putsch

2a : the aspect in which a thing is measurable in terms of greater, less, or equal or of increasing or decreasing magnitude

b : the subject of a mathematical operation

c : an individual considered with respect to a given situation an unknown quantity … as attorney general— Tom Wicker

3a : duration and intensity of speech sounds as distinct from their individual quality or phonemic character specifically : the relative length or brevity of a prosodic syllable in some languages (such as Greek and Latin)

b : the relative duration or time length of a speech sound or sound sequence

4 : the character of a logical proposition as being universal, particular, or singular

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Examples of quantity in a Sentence

The wine is made in small quantities. The boss is worried about quantity as well as quality. The family buys food in quantity.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Photo: Ritesh Shukla/Zuma Press Emerging-markets currencies, in turn, have been buoyed by lower oil prices; importers need to exchange less of their own local currency for dollars to buy the same quantity of crude. Avantika Chilkoti, WSJ, "Emerging Markets Get Boost From Falling Oil," 21 Nov. 2018 Dry eye occurs when the quantity and/or quality of your tears isn’t high enough to keep your eyes lubricated. Juno Demelo, Glamour, "4 Times Vision Loss Is About More Than Your Eyes Getting Older," 13 Nov. 2018 Springer, a leading scientific publisher, has declined to publish the technical proceedings, citing the low quantity of submissions. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "Steve Bannon is pushing anti-immigrant policies at an upcoming tech conference," 31 Oct. 2018 These are the quantities of real interest to the engineer, who has little use for the physicist’s or mathematician’s holy grail of a detailed, exact description. Lee Phillips, Ars Technica, "Turbulence, the oldest unsolved problem in physics," 10 Oct. 2018 Novichok-class agents only were produced in lab quantities and never entered production. Washington Post, "AP Explains: Novichok nerve agent that sickened UK couple," 5 July 2018 The size of a fireworks show is determined by the size and quantity of the shells. Susan Hoffman, latimes.com, "Newport’s fireworks safety specialists get the Fourth ready to fly," 3 July 2018 The area buzzed with volunteers bringing absurd quantities of clothing and food, as well as journalists looking for stories. The Economist, "Grenfell’s long shadow," 9 June 2018 Fire has had a major effect on the atmosphere over time, using oxygen and producing large quantities of CO2. Anna Diamond, Smithsonian, "What Is the Future of Fire?," 25 May 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for quantity

Middle English quantite, from Anglo-French quantité, from Latin quantitat-, quantitas, from quantus how much, how large; akin to Latin quam how, as, quando when, qui who — more at who

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Statistics for quantity

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for quantity

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

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More Definitions for quantity



English Language Learners Definition of quantity

: an amount or number of something

: a large amount or number of something


quan·​ti·​ty | \ˈkwän-tə-tē \
plural quantities

Kids Definition of quantity

1 : amount entry 2, number There's a small quantity of fuel left.

2 : a large number or amount quantities of money We buy food in quantity.

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Comments on quantity

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


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