number


number
numberable, adj.numberer, n.
/num"beuhr/, n.
1. a numeral or group of numerals.
2. the sum, total, count, or aggregate of a collection of units, or the like: A number of people were hurt in the accident. The number of homeless children in the city has risen alarmingly.
3. a word or symbol, or a combination of words or symbols, used in counting or in noting a total.
4. the particular numeral assigned to an object so as to designate its place in a series: house number; license number.
5. one of a series of things distinguished by or marked with numerals.
6. a certain collection, company, or quantity not precisely reckoned, but usually considerable or large: I've gone there a number of times.
7. the full count of a collection or company.
8. a collection or company.
9. a quantity of individuals: Their number was more than 20,000.
10. numbers,
a. a considerable amount or quantity; many: Numbers flocked to the city to see the parade.
b. metrical feet; verse.
c. musical periods, measures, or groups of notes.
d. See numbers pool (def. 1).
e. Informal. the figures representing the actual cost, expense, profit, etc.: We won't make a decision until we see the numbers.
f. Obs. arithmetic.
11. quantity as composed of units: to increase the number of eligible voters.
12. numerical strength or superiority; complement: The garrison is not up to its full number.
13. a tune or arrangement for singing or dancing.
14. a single or distinct performance within a show, as a song or dance: The comic routine followed the dance number.
15. a single part of a program made up of a group of similar parts: For her third number she played a nocturne.
16. any of a collection of poems or songs.
17. a distinct part of an extended musical work or one in a sequence of compositions.
18. conformity in music or verse to regular beat or measure; rhythm.
19. a single part of a book published in a series of parts.
20. a single issue of a periodical: several numbers of a popular magazine.
21. a code of numerals, letters, or a combination of these assigned to a particular telephone: Did you call the right number?
22. Gram. a category of noun, verb, or adjective inflection found in many languages, as English, Latin, and Arabic, used to indicate whether a word has one or more than one referent. There may be a two-way distinction in number, as between singular and plural, three-way, as between singular, dual, and plural, or more.
23. Informal. person; individual: the attractive number standing at the bar.
24. Informal. an article of merchandise, esp. of wearing apparel, offered for sale: Put those leather numbers in the display window.
25. mathematics regarded as a science, a basic concept, and a mode of thought: Number is the basis of science.
26. by the numbers,
a. according to standard procedure, rules, customs, etc.; orthodoxly; by the book: We're going to run things here by the numbers.
b. together or in unison to a called-out count: calisthenics by the numbers.
27. do a number on, Slang.
a. to undermine, defeat, humiliate, or criticize thoroughly: The committee really did a number on the mayor's proposal.
b. to discuss or discourse about, esp. in an entertaining way: She could do a number on anything from dentistry to the Bomb.
28. do one's number,
a. to give a performance; perform: It's time for you to get on stage and do your number.
b. Slang. to behave in a predictable or customary manner: Whenever I call, he does his number about being too busy to talk.
29. get or have someone's number, Informal. to become informed about someone's real motives, character, intentions, etc.: He was only interested in her fortune, but she got his number fast.
30. have one's number on it, Slang. to be thought of as the instrument of fate in the death of a person: That bullet had his number on it.
31. one's number is (was, will be) up, Slang.
a. one is (was, will be) in serious trouble.
b. one is (was, will be) on the point of death: Convinced that her number was up anyway, she refused to see doctors.
32. without number, of unknown or countless number; vast: stars without number.
v.t.
33. to mark with or distinguish by numbers: Number each of the definitions.
34. to amount to or comprise in number; total: The manuscript already numbers 425 pages.
35. to consider or include in a number: I number myself among his friends.
36. to count over one by one; tell: to number one's blessings.
37. to mention individually or one by one; enumerate: They numbered the highlights of their trip at length.
38. to set or fix the number of; limit in number; make few in number: The sick old man's days are numbered.
39. to live or have lived (a number of years).
40. to ascertain the number of; count.
41. to apportion or divide: The players were numbered into two teams.
v.i.
42. to make a total; reach an amount: Casualties numbered in the thousands.
43. to be numbered or included (usually fol. by among or with): Several eminent scientists number among his friends.
44. to count.
[1250-1300; 1940-45 for def. 23; (n.) ME, var. of nombre < OF < L numerus; (v.) ME nombren < OF nombrer < L numerare (deriv. of numerus)]
Syn. 1. digit, figure. 2. NUMBER, SUM both imply the total of two or more units. NUMBER applies to the result of a count or estimate in which the units are considered as individuals; it is used of groups of persons or things: to have a number of items on the agenda. SUM applies to the result of addition, in which only the total is considered: a large sum of money. 20. copy, edition.
Usage. 2. As a collective noun, NUMBER, when preceded by a, is most often treated as a plural: A number of legislators have voiced their dissent. When preceded by the, it is usually used as a singular: The number of legislators present was small. See also amount, collective noun.

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I
Basic element of mathematics used for counting, measuring, solving equations, and comparing quantities.

They fall into several categories. The counting numbers are the familiar 1, 2, 3 . . . ; whole numbers are the counting numbers and zero; integers are the whole numbers and the negative counting numbers; and the rational numbers are all possible quotients formed by integers, including fractions. These numbers can be symbolically represented by terminating or repeating decimals. Irrational numbers cannot be represented by fractions of integers or repeating decimals and must be represented by special symbols such as 2, e, and π. Together, the rational and irrational numbers constitute the real numbers, which form an algebraic field (see field theory), as do the complex numbers. While the counting numbers and rational numbers come about as the means of counting, calculating, and measuring, the others arose as means of solving equations. See also transcendental number.
II
(as used in expressions)
Avogadro's number

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      any of the positive or negative integers, or any of the set of all real or complex numbers, the latter containing all numbers of the form a + bi, where a and b are real numbers and i denotes the square root of –1. (Numbers of the form bi are sometimes called pure imaginary numbers to distinguish them from “mixed” complex numbers.) The real numbers (real number) consist of rational and irrational numbers. Rational numbers, such as 12, 13/5, or –4/11, are those numbers that can be expressed as integers or as the quotient of integers, whereas the irrational numbers (irrational number), such as √2, are those that cannot be so expressed. All rational numbers are also algebraic numbers (algebraic number)—i.e., they can be expressed as the root of some polynomial equation with rational coefficients. Although some irrational numbers, such as √2, can be expressed as the solution of such a polynomial equation (in this case, x2 = 2), many cannot. Those that cannot are called transcendental numbers. Among the transcendental numbers are e (the base of the natural logarithm), π, and certain combinations of these. The first number to be proved transcendental was e (by Charles Hermite (Hermite, Charles) in 1873), and π was shown to be transcendental in 1882 by Ferdinand von Lindemann (Lindemann, Ferdinand von).

      Other classes of numbers include square numbers—i.e., those that are squares of integers; perfect numbers (perfect number), those that are equal to the sum of their proper factors; random numbers, those that are representative of random selection procedures; and prime numbers, integers larger than 1 whose only positive divisors are themselves and 1.

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Universalium. 2010.

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