quan·​ti·​ty | \ ˈkwän-tə-tē How to pronounce quantity (audio) \
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

He and four other inmates were using phones smuggled into prison to move large quantities of methamphetamine from California to South Carolina. Sherri A. Lydon, WSJ, "Let States Jam Prison Cellphones," 3 Apr. 2019 Well, let’s just say the focus is going to be on quality over quantity. Mark Holgate, Vogue, "Marco Zanini Is Going to Launch His Own Label—Finally, Some Good News," 28 Jan. 2019 Overall, the model aims to provide incentives in the state’s health care system to emphasize the quality of care over the quantity of care and focus on value rather than volume. Washington Post, "Maryland governor signs federal all-payer health contract," 9 July 2018 The adage quality over quantity best describes an introvert and their relationships. K. Lori Hanson, Ph.d., miamiherald, "10 good reasons to celebrate your 'too sensitive' child | Miami Herald," 14 May 2018 Her advice for budding backcountry bartenders is to focus on quality over quantity, and remember that the plastic baggie is your best friend. Graham Averill, Outside Online, "How to Mix a Delicious Cocktail in the Backcountry," 4 May 2018 Guardiola is not interested in adding more than three players to his Manchester City squad this summer, requesting quality over quantity, however. SI.com, "Pep Guardiola Targets Summer Move for Bayern Star as Long-Term Replacement for David Silva," 15 Apr. 2018 Like many organic farmers, grape growers prize quality over quantity and eschew the insurance that pesticides provide, so yields are lower. Adam Erace, Fortune, "Why the Next Bottle You Pour Should Be a Natural Wine," 28 Mar. 2018 Understand the role of data and analysis — quality and quantity — based upon the context of the decision at hand. Steve Jagler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Jagler: Marcus Theatres' Rolando Rodriguez is reinventing the moviegoing experience," 22 June 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

24 May 2019

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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 How to pronounce quantity (audio) \
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).


a strong desire or propensity

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