I. noun Etymology: Middle English nombre, from Anglo-French, from Latin numerus Date: 14th century 1. a. (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 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 number
c. (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 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 number
c. (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
b. (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 b. (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 II. verb (numbered; numbering) 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 numbered
4. to assign a number to <
number the pages
5. to amount to in number ; total <
the crew numbers 100
intransitive verb 1. to reach a total number 2. to call off numbers in sequence • numberable adjectivenumberer noun

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


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