Meaning of NUMBER in English

I. ˈnəm-bər noun

Etymology: Middle English nombre, from Anglo-French, from Latin numerus

Date: 14th century



(1) : a sum of units : total

(2) : complement 1b

(3) : an indefinite usually large total

a number of members were absent

the number of elderly is rising

(4) plural : a numerous group : many

(5) : a numerical preponderance


(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 number


(1) : a unit belonging to an abstract mathematical system and subject to specified laws of succession, addition, and multiplication ; especially : natural number

(2) : an element (as π) of any of many mathematical systems obtained by extension of or analogy with the natural number system

(3) plural : 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. plural


(1) : metrical structure : meter

(2) : metrical lines : verses

b. archaic : musical sounds : notes


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 number


(1) : a member of a sequence or collection designated by especially consecutive numbers (as an issue of a periodical)

(2) : a position in a numbered sequence

d. : a group of one kind

not of their number

5. : one singled out from a group : individual : as

a. : girl , woman

met an attractive number at the dance


(1) : a musical, theatrical, or literary selection or production

(2) : routine , act

c. : stunt , trick

d. : an act of transforming or impairing

tripped and did a number on her knee

e. : an item of merchandise and especially clothing

6. : insight into a person's ability or character

had my number

7. plural but singular or plural in construction

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. : policy II,2a

8. plural

a. : figures representing amounts of money usually in dollars spent, earned, or involved


(1) : statistics 2 ; especially : 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 number

10. : lifetime 1a — used with up

the old feeling that comes to men in combat…that your number was up — Geoffrey Norman

Usage: see amount

- by the numbers

II. verb

( num·bered ; num·ber·ing -b(ə-)riŋ)

Date: 14th century

transitive verb

1. : count , enumerate

2. : to claim as part of a total : include

3. : to restrict to a definite number

your days are number ed

4. : to assign a number to

number the pages

5. : to amount to in number : total

the crew number s 100

intransitive verb

1. : to reach a total number

2. : to call off numbers in sequence

• num·ber·able -b(ə-)rə-bəl adjective

• num·ber·er -bər-ər noun

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.