WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2015
num•ber /ˈnʌmbɚ/USA pronunciation
[~ + object] to mark with or distinguish by numbers, usually in a series:He numbered the examples one through ten on the board.
to amount to or reach in number; total: [~ + object]Our air force numbers one thousand bombers.[no object]Our army numbers in the thousands.
[~ + object] to consider or include in a number:I number myself among his friends. He was numbered among their enemies.
[~ + object; usually: be + ~ed] to be close to the end of something:He knew his hours were numbered after he took three bullets in the chest.
[~ + object] to figure out the amount or quantity of;
- [countable] a mathematical unit used to count or express an amount, quantity, etc.:Six is an even number; one, three, and five are odd numbers.
- Mathematics[countable] a numeral or group of numerals;
a written number.
- Pronounsthe total of a group or of a collection of units: [countable]What is the number of people with reserved seats?[uncountable]Rivers are few in number in that state.
- [countable; usually singular;
often: ~ + of] an indefinite quantity;
several:I've been there a number of times.
- Mathematics[countable] the particular numeral that is given or assigned to an object so as to distinguish it or show its place in a series:a house number; a license number;
a telephone number.[before a numeral]We took the number 113 bus to the station.
- a considerable amount or quantity; many:arrived in large numbers.
- numerical strength;
a greater amount:There is strength in numbers.
- [the + ~] a lottery in which bets are placed on numbers chosen at random and published or broadcast.
- [Informal.]the figures representing the actual cost, expense, profit, etc.:The numbers didn't really add up, so the accountant went back over them.
- arithmetic:Are you any good at numbers?
- Music and Dance[countable] a tune or arrangement for singing or dancing; a piece of music:The next number they played was "Sunshine of Your Love.''
- Music and Dance[countable] a certain performance within a show, as a song or dance:Don't miss the number that opens the second act.
- Grammar[uncountable] a category of change in the form of a word which indicates whether the word refers to one or to more than one thing, in the distinction between singular and plural:In English, number is represented by the ending -s for many nouns in the plural, such as boys, books, clothes, and dolls.
- Informal Terms[countable; usually singular][Informal.]person;
individual:The girls think he's a pretty hot number. One of our number is no longer with us;
Bob died suddenly last week.
count:We numbered the days until we could go home again.
by the numbers:
- according to standard procedures.
- Idiomsdo a number on, [~ + object][Slang.]to defeat or humiliate:Their team did a number on us, beating us 55-0.
- Idiomsget or have someone's number, [Informal.]to figure out or understand someone's character, intentions, or any hidden motives or plans they may have:She thinks she's fooling them, but in fact they have her number. She's got my number all right; she knew just what I would do.
- Idiomswithout number, of unknown or countless number;
vast:Stars and galaxies without number fill the universe.
Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
number /ˈnʌmbə/ n
vb (mainly tr)
- a concept of quantity that is or can be derived from a single unit, the sum of a collection of units, or zero. Every number occupies a unique position in a sequence, enabling it to be used in counting. It can be assigned to one or more sets that can be arranged in a hierarchical classification: every number is a complex number; a complex number is either an imaginary number or a real number, and the latter can be a rational number or an irrational number; a rational number is either an integer or a fraction, while an irrational number can be a transcendental number or an algebraic number
See also cardinal number, ordinal number
- the symbol used to represent a number; numeral
- a numeral or string of numerals used to identify a person or thing, esp in numerical order: a telephone number
- the person or thing so identified or designated: she was number seven in the race
- the sum or quantity of equal or similar units or things: a large number of people
- one of a series, as of a magazine or periodical; issue
- a self-contained piece of pop or jazz music
- a self-contained part of an opera or other musical score, esp one for the stage
- a group or band of people, esp an exclusive group: he was not one of our number
- slang a person, esp a woman: who's that nice little number?
- informal an admired article, esp an item of clothing for a woman: that little number is by Dior
- a grammatical category for the variation in form of nouns, pronouns, and any words agreeing with them, depending on how many persons or things are referred to, esp as singular or plural in number and in some languages dual or trial
- any number of ⇒ several or many
- by numbers ⇒ (of a drill procedure, etc) performed step by step, each move being made on the call of a number
- get someone's number, have someone's number ⇒ informal to discover someone's true character or intentions
- one's number is up ⇒ Brit informal one is finished; one is ruined or about to die
- without number, beyond number ⇒ of too great a quantity to be counted; innumerable
Etymology: 13th Century: from Old French nombre, from Latin numerus
- to assign a number to
- to add up to; total
- (also intr) to list (items) one by one; enumerate
- (also intr) to put or be put into a group, category, etc: they were numbered among the worst hit
- to limit the number of: his days were numbered
'number' also found in these entries: