number: Meaning and Definition of


Pronunciation: (num'bur), [key]
— 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 flocked to the city to see the parade.
    1. a considerable amount or quantity; many:Numbers flocked to the city to see the parade.
    2. metrical feet; verse.
    3. musical periods, measures, or groups of notes.
    4. Seenumbers pool(def. 1).
    5. Informal.the figures representing the actual cost, expense, profit, etc.:We won't make a decision until we see the numbers.
    6. 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. 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. person; individual: the attractive number standing at the bar.
  24. 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. We're going to run things here by the numbers.
    1. according to standard procedure, rules, customs, etc.; orthodoxly; by the book:We're going to run things here by the numbers.
    2. together or in unison to a called-out count:calisthenics by the numbers.
  27. The committee really did a number on the mayor's proposal.
    1. to undermine, defeat, humiliate, or criticize thoroughly:The committee really did a number on the mayor's proposal.
    2. to discuss or discourse about, esp. in an entertaining way:She could do a number on anything from dentistry to the Bomb.
  28. It's time for you to get on stage and do your number.
    1. to give a performance; perform:It's time for you to get on stage and do your number.
    2. behave in a predictable or customary manner:Whenever I call, he does his number about being too busy to talk.
  29. 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. to be thought of as the instrument of fate in the death of a person: That bullet had his number on it.
  31. Convinced that her number was up anyway, she refused to see doctors.
    1. one is (was, will be) in serious trouble.
    2. one is (was, will be) on the point of death:Convinced that her number was up anyway, she refused to see doctors.
  32. of unknown or countless number; vast: stars without number.
  1. to mark with or distinguish by numbers: Number each of the definitions.
  2. to amount to or comprise in number; total: The manuscript already numbers 425 pages.
  3. to consider or include in a number: I number myself among his friends.
  4. to count over one by one; tell: to number one's blessings.
  5. to mention individually or one by one; enumerate: They numbered the highlights of their trip at length.
  6. to set or fix the number of; limit in number; make few in number: The sick old man's days are numbered.
  7. to live or have lived (a number of years).
  8. to ascertain the number of; count.
  9. to apportion or divide: The players were numbered into two teams.
  1. to make a total; reach an amount: Casualties numbered in the thousands.
  2. to be numbered or included (usually fol. by among or with): Several eminent scientists number among his friends.
  3. to count.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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