English edit

Alternative forms edit

Etymology 1 edit

From Middle English number, nombre, numbre, noumbre, from Anglo-Norman noumbre, Old French nombre, from Latin numerus (number), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *nem- (to divide). Compare Saterland Frisian Nummer, Nuumer, West Frisian nûmer, Dutch nummer (number), German Nummer (number), Danish nummer (number), Swedish nummer (number), Icelandic númer (number). Replaced Middle English ȝetæl and rime, more at tell, tale and rhyme.

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

number (plural numbers)

  1. (countable) An abstract entity used to describe quantity.
    Zero, one, −1, 2.5, and pi are all numbers.
  2. (countable) A numeral: a symbol for a non-negative integer.
    Synonyms: scalar, (obsolete) rime
    The number 8 is usually made with a single stroke.
  3. (countable, mathematics) An element of one of several sets: natural numbers, integers, rational numbers, real numbers, complex numbers, and sometimes extensions such as hypercomplex numbers, etc.
    The equation   includes the most important numbers: 1, 0,  ,  , and  .
  4. (Followed by a numeral; used attributively) Indicating the position of something in a list or sequence. Abbreviations: No or No., no or no. (in each case, sometimes written with a superscript "o", like Nº or №). The symbol "#" is also used in this manner.
    Horse number 5 won the race.
  5. Quantity.
    • 2013 June 8, “The new masters and commanders”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8839, page 52:
      From the ground, Colombo’s port does not look like much. []   But viewed from high up in one of the growing number of skyscrapers in Sri Lanka’s capital, it is clear that something extraordinary is happening: China is creating a shipping hub just 200 miles from India’s southern tip.
    • 1625, Francis [Bacon], “Of the True Greatness of Kingdoms and Estates”, in The Essayes [], 3rd edition, London: [] Iohn Haviland for Hanna Barret, →OCLC:
      Number itself importeth not much in armies where the people are of weak courage.
    Any number of people can be reading from a given repository at a time.
  6. A sequence of digits and letters used to register people, automobiles, and various other items.
    Her passport number is C01X864TN.
  7. (countable, informal) A telephone number.
    • 1974, “Rikki Don't Lose That Number”, performed by Steely Dan:
      Rikki, don't lose that number / You don't wanna call nobody else / Send it off in a letter to yourself
    • 2001, E. Forrest Hein, The Ruach Project,, Xulon Press, page 86:
      “[...] I wonder if you could get hold of him and have him call me here at Interior. I’m in my office, do you have my number?”
    • 2007, Lindsey Nicole Isham, No Sex in the City: One Virgin's Confessions on Love, Lust, Dating, and Waiting, Kregel Publications, page 111:
      When I agreed to go surfing with him he said, “Great, can I have your number?” Well, I don’t give my number to guys I don’t know.
    • 2016, VOA Learning English (public domain)
      Marsha's work number is 555-8986.
      (file)
  8. (grammar) Of a word or phrase, the state of being singular, dual or plural, shown by inflection.
    Adjectives and nouns should agree in gender, number, and case.
  9. (now rare, in the plural) Poetic metres; verses, rhymes.
    • a. 1631 (date written), J[ohn] Donne, “The Triple Foole”, in Poems, [] with Elegies on the Authors Death, London: [] M[iles] F[lesher] for Iohn Marriot, [], published 1633, →OCLC, page 204:
      Griefe brought to numbers cannot be ſo fierce, / For, he tames it, that fetters it in verſe.
    • 1735 January 13 (Gregorian calendar; indicated as 1734), [Alexander] Pope, An Epistle from Mr. Pope, to Dr. Arbuthnot, London: [] J[ohn] Wright for Lawton Gilliver [], →OCLC, page 7, lines 124–125:
      As yet a Child, nor yet a Fool to Fame, / I liſp'd in Numbers, for the Numbers came.
  10. (countable) A performance; especially, a single song or song and dance routine within a larger show.
    For his second number, he sang "The Moon Shines Bright".
  11. (countable, informal) A person.
    • 1968, Janet Burroway, The dancer from the dance: a novel,, Little, Brown, page 40:
      I laughed. "Don't doubt that. She's a saucy little number."
    • 1988, Erica Jong, Serenissima,, Dell, page 214:
      "Signorina Jessica," says the maid, a saucy little number, "your father has gone to his prayers and demands that you come to the synagogue at once [...]"
    • 2005, Denise A. Agnew, Kate Hill, Arianna Hart, By Honor Bound,, Ellora's Cave Publishing, page 207:
      He had to focus on the mission, staying alive and getting out, not on the sexy number rubbing up against him.
  12. (countable, informal) An item of clothing, particularly a stylish one.
    • 2007, Cesca Martin, Agony Angel: So You Think You've Got Problems...,, Troubador Publishing Ltd, page 134:
      The trouble was I was wearing my backless glittering number from the night before underneath, so unless I could persuade the office it was National Fancy Dress Day I was doomed to sweat profusely in bottle blue.
    • 2007, Lorelei James, Running with the Devil, Samhain Publishing, Ltd, page 46:
      "I doubt the sexy number you wore earlier tonight fell from the sky."
  13. (slang, chiefly US) A marijuana cigarette, or joint; also, a quantity of marijuana bought from a dealer.
    • 2005, K'wan, Hoodlum, St. Martin's Press, →ISBN, page 1:
      These were the two that Tommy had chosen to collect a debt owed to his family by a dude named Heath who ran numbers out of a grocery store on 131st and Lenox.
    • 2009, Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice, Vintage, published 2010, page 12:
      Back at his place again, Doc rolled a number, put on a late movie, found an old T-shirt, and sat tearing it up into short strips []
  14. (dated) An issue of a periodical publication.
    the latest number of a magazine
  15. A large amount, in contrast to a smaller amount; numerical preponderance.
    • 1980 May 10, Al King, “Braves travel to New England with reputation”, in The Indiana Gazette:
      Despite last week's woes, the Braves still sport numbers that would make Christie Brinkley blush.
Hyponyms edit
grammar: Hyponyms of "number"
mathematics: Hyponyms of "number"
Derived terms edit
Descendants edit
Translations edit

Verb edit

number (third-person singular simple present numbers, present participle numbering, simple past and past participle numbered)

  1. (intransitive) To total or count; to amount to.
    I don’t know how many books are in the library, but they must number in the thousands.
    • 1977, United States Congress. House. Committee on the Judiciary. Subcommittee on Crime, Federal Role in Criminal Justice and Crime Research, page 107:
      Do they number in the hundreds, do they number in the thousands? Do they number in the tens of thousand?
  2. (transitive, passive voice) To limit to a certain number; to reckon (as by fate) to be few in number.
    The old man knew that his days were numbered.
    • 1867, The Days of England Not “numbered”: Reply to Sir Archibald Alison, page 1:
      THE DAYS OF ENGLAND NOT “NUMBERED.” REPLY TO SIR ARCHIBALD ALISON.
    • 2018 February 6, Dan Bouk, How Our Days Became Numbered: Risk and the Rise of the Statistical Individual, University of Chicago Press, →ISBN, page 209:
      To conclude this book, we will let Lange’s photo and its three layers guide us. Each layer invites us to explore a different answer to this book's title question—how did our days become numbered?
  3. (transitive, literary or archaic) To count; to determine the quantity of.
    The king ordered that all his subjects be numbered.
    Who can number all the stars and who can count the desert sands?
    • 1610, The Bible: That Is, the Holy Scriptures Contained in the Olde and New Testament, Numbers 1:3:
      From twentie yeare old and above, all that go forth to the warre in Iſrael, thou and Aaron ſhall number them, throughout their armies.
  4. (transitive) To label (items) with numbers; to assign numbers to (items).
    Number the baskets so that we can find them easily.
    • 1964, Education U.S. Department of Health (and Welfare), United States. Public Health Service, Public Health Service Numbered Publications: Supplement:
      “Public Health Service Numbered Publications – A Catalog, 1950-1962” and contains those numbered publications issued during the period 1963-64.
    • 1972, United States. National Archives and Records Service, Miscellaneous Numbered Records (the Manuscript File) in the War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records, 1775-1790's, page 3:
      Most of the remaining records in the War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records were designated "miscellaneous" records, consecutively numbered, and placed in a fourth large series of records that came to be known as  []
    • 2022 September 4, Francis Lynde, The City of Numbered Days, DigiCat:
      The remainder of the valley is laid off into cute little squares and streets, with everything named and numbered, ready to be listed in the brokers’ offices.
  5. (transitive, with off) To call out and assign a series of numbers (usually to people), either for the sake of dividing into groups or for counting.
    Shelley numbered off the group into two teams for the baseball game.
    • 1870, USA House of Representatives, House Documents, page 532:
      I counted them and numbered them off, and I found about three hundred and seventy or three hundred and seventy-five.
    • 2014 March 3, Flora Johnston, War Classics: The Remarkable Memoir of Scottish Scholar Christina Keith on the Western Front, The History Press, →ISBN:
      At my entrance, the Sergeant called them to attention, numbered them off smartly, and presented two Companies for my instruction.
  6. (transitive, with off) To enumerate or list, especially while assigning numbers to.
    • 2019 January 11, Mark G. Turner, We Both Shall Row, My Love And I, FriesenPress, →ISBN, page 367:
      I numbered them off on my fingers as I stated them. “First, I would redeem a small amount of my investment assets to pay off the cleared lot and come up with a down payment for the ten acres. Second, I would seek to obtain an open []
  7. (transitive, usually with among) To classify or include (in a group of things)
    Alexander the Great's army numbered an elite cavalry among its ranks.
    • 1839, Saint Cyprian (Bishop of Carthage.), The Treatises of S. Caecilius Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, and Martyr, page 298:
      We fools counted their life madness, and their end to be without honour: how are they numbered among the children of God, and their lot is among the Saints!
    • 1879, United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Report, page 76:
      They number among them men of intelligence and education, fitted in almost every respect to share in the responsibilities of government as well as receive a part of its benefits.
    • 1963, United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Commerce, Hearings, page 69:
      We certainly endorse the essential purpose of S. 708 — namely, that an applicant should not obtain a grant simply because it numbers among its stockholders a Member of Congress  []
    • 2019 August 6, Fr. Joseph Irvin, The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom: Orthodox Service Books - Number 1, Lulu Press, Inc, →ISBN:
      Unite them to Your Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, and number them with Your chosen flock. That with us they may glorify Your all-honorable and majestic name: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and ever.
  8. (intransitive, usually with among) To be classified or included (in a certain group or category of things).
    Her horses number among the fastest in her country.
    • 2010 September 3, Catherine Tizard, Cat Among the Pigeons: A Memoir, Penguin Random House New Zealand Limited, →ISBN:
      They number among our best people, particularly when we realise that they are models for what the rest of us might also achieve.
    • 2020 October 1, Elizabeth Koepping, Spousal Violence Among World Christians: Silent Scandal, Bloomsbury Publishing, →ISBN:
      If they number among those who abuse their wives, they, just like abusing leaders, should stop.
Translations edit
See also edit
References edit

Etymology 2 edit

From numb + -er.

Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit

number

  1. comparative form of numb: more numb

Anagrams edit

Estonian edit

Etymology edit

From German Nummer. The added -b- is analogous to kamber and klamber.

Noun edit

number (genitive numbri, partitive numbrit)

  1. number

Declension edit

Declension of number (ÕS type 2/õpik, no gradation)
singular plural
nominative number numbrid
accusative nom.
gen. numbri
genitive numbrite
partitive numbrit numbreid
illative numbrisse numbritesse
numbreisse
inessive numbris numbrites
numbreis
elative numbrist numbritest
numbreist
allative numbrile numbritele
numbreile
adessive numbril numbritel
numbreil
ablative numbrilt numbritelt
numbreilt
translative numbriks numbriteks
numbreiks
terminative numbrini numbriteni
essive numbrina numbritena
abessive numbrita numbriteta
comitative numbriga numbritega

Middle English edit

Noun edit

number

  1. Alternative form of nombre

Papiamentu edit

 

Etymology edit

From English number.

An analogy of the Papiamentu word nòmber "name".

Noun edit

number

  1. number