— 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.
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.
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 numerus; (v.) ME nombren nombrer 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 .