Number: Definition, Meaning, and Examples

Last Updated on
October 8, 2023

1. Number (noun): A mathematical value representing a specific quantity, used in counting and making calculations.
2. Number (noun): A numeral or a sequence of numerals used to identify something, such as a telephone number, room number, or house number.
3. Number (noun): A quantity or amount.
4. Number (noun): A single issue of a magazine or periodical.
5. Number (noun): A song, dance, piece of music, or performance, especially in a larger show or play.
6. Number (verb): To assign a number to, often sequentially.
7. Number (verb): To total in number or count.
8. Number (verb): To limit or restrict in quantity.

The term "number" encompasses various meanings ranging from mathematical values to identifying markers. The rich versatility of this word is evident in its application across different domains, such as mathematics, publishing, and the arts.

"Number" Definition: What Does "Number" Mean?

The word "number" can refer to mathematical figures, quantities, or even as an identifier. Its meanings stretch across a vast landscape, from the realm of arithmetic to the world of art and performance.

  • Mathematical Number: Any value that can be counted, measured, or quantified falls under this category, such as integers, fractions, and decimals.
  • Identifier: Often seen as a sequence of digits or numerals, used for things like phone numbers, house numbers, or even clothing sizes.
  • Magazine Issue: Refers to a single edition of a periodic publication.
  • Performance Piece: A specific song, dance, or act in a show or musical.

Parts of Speech

The word "number" primarily functions as a noun, representing mathematical values or identifiers. However, it can also be a verb, especially when discussing counting or labeling in a sequence.

How to Pronounce "Number"?

"Number" is articulated in two syllables. The initial segment, "num," has a short "u" sound, akin to "bun," followed by "ber," where the "e" has a short sound, as in "better."

Phonetic Pronunciation: ˈnʌmbər (Stress on 'num')

Synonyms of "Number": Other Ways to Say "Number"

The term "number" possesses various synonyms, each slightly different depending on the context it's used in.

  • Figure
  • Digit
  • Count
  • Numerical
  • Total

Antonyms of "Number": Other Ways to Say "Number"

Finding exact opposites for "number" is challenging due to its broad range of meanings. However, some words can contrast with specific contexts of "number."

  • Whole
  • Infinity

Examples of "Number" in a Sentence

The term "number" is ubiquitously used in English and can be spotted in diverse contexts.

Here are ten sentences that demonstrate its various applications:

1. The record-breaking number we achieved is one for the ages.
2. Write your contact number clearly at the top of the form.
3. The magazine's latest number features an exclusive interview with the actress.
4. He numbered the pages of his manuscript before submitting it.
5. I'll do my best to verify the exact number of participants by tomorrow.
6. Prime numbers have always fascinated mathematicians.
7. The number five holds special significance in many cultures.
8. She wore a dress with the number 12 on it, signifying her team position.
9. This month, we sealed the deal on a number of contracts that exceeded expectations.
10. I'll pick them up at 5; by then, I should have the number of attendees confirmed.

Frequency of Use

The word "number" holds a prominent position in the English lexicon. Its ubiquity stems from its central role in mathematics, identification, and linguistic expressions. Whether quantifying items, labeling rooms, or emphasizing the magnitude of a group, "number" is fundamental to daily communication. This term consistently ranks high on word frequency lists in literature, media, academia, and casual conversation.

Variants of "Number"

"Number" mainly functions as a noun, but it can also act as a verb, signifying the act of counting or sequencing. Here are its different contextual uses:

1. Numberless: Too numerous to be counted.
2. Numbering: The action or process of marking with a number.
3. Numbered: Marked with a number or an amount.

Related Terms to "Number"

Several terms are related to "number," each capturing distinct facets of quantification, sequence, and identification.

1. Digit
2. Numeral
3. Figure
4. Count
5. Total
6. Integer
7. Fraction
8. Decimal

Etymology: History and Origins of "Number"

The term "number" has a long history traceable to roughly 1300s. Initially, it denoted the "sum or aggregate of a collection" and originates from Old French and Latin words with similar meanings. Its root is the Latin term "numerus," related to the concept of dividing or distributing objects—an apt association given numbers facilitate counting and grouping.

By the late 14th century, it took on more specific meanings, such as "symbols or figures of arithmetic value," akin to the numerical figures utilized in mathematics. By 1795, the term was employed to label a "single (numbered) issue of a magazine." Furthermore, the term "number cruncher," initially referring to machines and later to individuals skilled at managing numbers, entered common usage during the 1960s and 1970s.

Derivatives and Compounds of "Number"

"Number" is the root for various derivatives and compounds that highlight counting, ordering, and mathematical interpretation.

1. Phone Number: A sequence of digits assigned to a fixed-line or mobile telephone used to call that phone.
2. Number Theory: A branch of mathematics studying the properties of integers and their relationships.
3. Number Cruncher: Informal term for a person or machine that performs a lot of calculations, often in the context of data analysis or statistics.
4. Number Game: A game involving numbers, such as Sudoku or a mathematical puzzle.

Common Misspellings of "Number"

While "number" is a commonly used word, occasional misspellings or typos can arise.

Here are some frequent misspellings and incorrect forms of "number":

1. Nummber
2. Numbr
3. Numbeer

10 Idioms Similar To "Number"

The term "number" is often interwoven into idiomatic expressions, reflecting its integral place in the language.

1. By the numbers
2. Crunch the numbers
3. A numbers game
4. Do a number on someone
5. Get someone's number
6. In number
7. Number one
8. Have someone's number
9. Without number
10. A number of times

10 Common Questions About "Number"

The term "number," due to its wide-ranging applications, raises numerous questions across various fields.

1. How is a "number" defined in mathematics?

A "number" is a mathematical object used to measure, label, and order.

2. What is the difference between a whole and a fractional number?

A whole number includes all positive, zero, and negative integers, while a fractional number represents values between whole numbers.

3. How can "number" be used in a linguistic sense?

In linguistics, "number" refers to the grammatical category indicating the number of referents, such as singular, plural, or dual.

4. How do you "number" pages in a document?

To "number" pages, one usually starts with the first page as "1" and continues sequentially.

5. Why is the term "number" used in expressions like "phone number"?

"Number" signifies a unique sequence of digits, making it apt for identifying individual phone lines.

6. What is meant by "number theory"?

"Number theory" is a branch of mathematics dedicated to the study of integers and, more generally, objects built from them.

7. How is "number" different from "numeral"?

A "number" is a concept for a quantity, while a "numeral" is a symbol or name that stands for a number.

8. Can "number" be used as an adjective?

Yes, "number" can be an adjective, as in "the number two pencil."

9. What does "a number of" mean?

"A number of" means several or many when referring to quantity.

10. What does "doing a number on someone" imply?

This idiom means to harm, deceive, or confuse someone.


"Number" is a multifaceted term essential in mathematical and everyday contexts. Its multifarious uses, from quantification to identification and even linguistic classification, make it indispensable. Grasping its different nuances and applications enriches comprehension and communication. Explore our extensive lexicon to understand "number" and myriad other terms.

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