[num.ber] n [ME nombre, fr. OF, fr. L numerus] (14c) 1 a (1): a sum of units: total (2): complement 1b (3): an indefinite usu. large total "a ~ of members were absent" "the ~ of elderly is rising" (4) pl: a numerous group: many (5): a numerical preponderance b (1): the characteristic of an individual by which it is treated as a unit or of a collection by which it is treated in terms of units (2): an ascertainable total "bugs beyond ~" c (1): a unit belonging to an abstract mathematical system and subject to specified laws of succession, addition, and multiplication; esp: natural number (2): an element of any of many mathematical systems obtained by extension of or analogy with the natural number system (3) pl: arithmetic
2: a distinction of word form to denote reference to one or more than one; also: a form or group of forms so distinguished 3 pl a (1): metrical structure: meter (2): metrical lines: verses b archaic: musical sounds: notes
4. a: a word, symbol, letter, or combination of symbols representing a number b: a numeral or combination of numerals or other symbols used to identify or designate "dialed the wrong ~" c (1): a member of a sequence or collection designated by esp. consecutive numbers (as an issue of a periodical) (2): a position in a numbered sequence d: a group of one kind "not of their ~"
5: one singled out from a group: individual: as a: girl, woman "met an attractive ~ at the dance" b (1): a musical, theatrical, or literary selection or production (2): routine, act c: an item of merchandise and esp. clothing
6: insight into a person's ability or character "had my ~"
7. pl but sing or pl in constr a: a form of lottery in which an individual wagers on the appearance of a certain combination of digits (as in regularly published numbers)--called also numbers game b:
8. pl a: figures representing amounts of money usu. in dollars spent, earned, or involved b (1): statistics 2; esp: individual statistics (as of an athlete) (2): rating 3c 9: a person represented by a number or considered without regard to individuality "at the university I was just a ~" usage see amount -- by the numbers 1: in unison to a specific count or cadence
2: in a systematic, routine, or mechanical manner
number vb num.bered ; num.ber.ing vt (14c) 1: count, enumerate
2: to claim as part of a total: include
3: to restrict to a definite number "your days are ~ed"
4: to assign a number to
5: to amount to in number: total "the crew ~s 100" ~ vi 1: to reach a total number
2: to call off numbers in sequence -- num.ber.able adj -- num.ber.er n