Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


1. Mathematics
a. A member of the set of positive integers; one of a series of symbols of unique meaning in a fixed order that can be derived by counting.
b. A member of any of the following sets of mathematical objects: integers, rational numbers, real numbers, and complex numbers. These sets can be derived from the positive integers through various algebraic and analytic constructions.
2. numbers Arithmetic.
a. A symbol or word used to represent a number.
b. A numeral or a series of numerals used for reference or identification: his telephone number; the apartment number.
a. A position in an ordered sequence that corresponds to one of the positive integers: the house that is number three from the corner; ranked number six in her class.
b. One item in a group or series considered to be in numerical order: an old number of a magazine.
5. A total; a sum: the number of feet in a mile.
6. An indefinite quantity of units or individuals: The crowd was small in number. A number of people complained.
7. numbers
a. A large quantity; a multitude: Numbers of people visited the fair.
b. Numerical superiority: The South had leaders, the North numbers.
8. Grammar The indication, as by inflection, of the singularity, duality, or plurality of a linguistic form.
9. numbers
a. Metrical feet or lines; verses: "These numbers will I tear, and write in prose" (Shakespeare).
b. Obsolete Poetic meter.
10. numbers Archaic Musical periods or measures.
11. numbers(used with a sing. or pl. verb) Games A numbers game.
12. Numbers(used with a sing. verb) See Table at Bible.
13. One of the separate offerings in a program of music or other entertainment: The band's second number was a march.
14. Slang A frequently repeated, characteristic speech, argument, or performance: suspects doing their usual number—protesting innocence.
15. Slang A person or thing singled out for a particular characteristic: a crafty number.
v. num·bered, num·ber·ing, num·bers
1. To assign a number to or mark with a number: Did you number the pages of the report?
2. To determine the number or amount of; count: Tickets sold for the show were numbered at 500.
3. To total in number or amount; add up to: The ships in the harbor number around 100.
4. To include in a group or category: He was numbered among the lost.
5. To limit or restrict in number: Our days are numbered.
1. To call off numbers; count: numbering to ten.
2. To have as a total; amount to a number: The applicants numbered in the thousands.
by the numbers
1. In unison as numbers are called out by a leader: performing calisthenics by the numbers.
2. In a strict, step-by-step or mechanical way.
do a number on Slang
To defeat, abuse, or humiliate in a calculated and thorough way.
get/have (someone's) number
To determine or know someone's real character or motives.
without/beyond number
Too many to be counted; countless: mosquitoes without number.

[Middle English nombre, from Old French, from Latin numerus; see nem- in Indo-European roots.]

num′ber·er n.
Usage Note: As a collective noun number may take either a singular or a plural verb. It takes a singular verb when it is preceded by the definite article the: The number of skilled workers is increasing. It takes a plural verb when preceded by the indefinite article a: A number of the workers have learned new skills.


pl n
(Accounting & Book-keeping) informal financial statistics: let's look at last year's numbers.


(Bible) (functioning as singular) the fourth book of the Old Testament, recording the numbers of the Israelites who followed Moses out of Egypt


(ˈnʌm bərz)

the fourth book of the Old Testament, containing the census of the Israelites after the Exodus.


See also mathematics.

a skilied user of the abacus.
Psychiatry. an inability to work with figures; a mental block concerning calculation.
a form of divination involving numbers. Also called arithmomancy.
1. an obsession with numbers.
2. a compulsion to count things.
a belief that the number seven is sacred, as in ancient Baby-Ion.
a system of occultism based upon numbers. — numerologist, n.numerological, adj.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Numbers - the fourth book of the Old Testament; contains a record of the number of Israelites who followed Moses out of Egypt
Old Testament - the collection of books comprising the sacred scripture of the Hebrews and recording their history as the chosen people; the first half of the Christian Bible
Laws, Pentateuch, Torah - the first of three divisions of the Hebrew Scriptures comprising the first five books of the Hebrew Bible considered as a unit
2.Numbers - an illegal daily lotterynumbers - an illegal daily lottery    
lottery, drawing - players buy (or are given) chances and prizes are distributed by casting lots
References in classic literature ?
Born of a delicate and overworked mother, and an impulsive, hard, imaginative father, who did not look with favor upon her coming into the world, Louise was from childhood a neurotic, one of the race of over-sensitive women that in later days in- dustrialism was to bring in such great numbers into the world.
Even the most confident and the stoutest hearts began to think the issue of the contest was becoming doubtful; and that abject class was hourly increasing in numbers, who thought they foresaw all the possessions of the English crown in America subdued by their Christian foes, or laid waste by the inroads of their relentless allies.
Their numbers showed that the friends of the young man had been many.
Sometimes we saw hundreds in a drove, and the numbers about the salt springs were amazing.
It was already thronged with the craftsmen and other plebeian inhabitants of the town, in considerable numbers, among whom, likewise, were many rough figures, whose attire of deer-skins marked them as belonging to some of the forest settlements, which surrounded the little metropolis of the colony.
On the second day, numbers of Right Whales were seen, who, secure from the attack of a Sperm Whaler like the Pequod, with open jaws sluggishly swam through the brit, which, adhering to the fringing fibres of that wondrous Venetian blind in their mouths, was in that manner separated from the water that escaped at the lip.
And though all hands commonly disdained the capture of those inferior creatures; and though the Pequod was not commissioned to cruise for them at all, and though she had passed numbers of them near the Crozetts without lowering a boat; yet now that a Sperm Whale had been brought alongside and beheaded, to the surprise of all, the announcement was made that a Right Whale should be captured that day, if opportunity offered.
The latter were a thousand to one in numbers, but they were ignorant and helpless, and they would remain at the mercy of their exploiters until they were organized--until they had become "class-conscious.
Also the most destructive to life, considered from the standpoint of proportion of casualties to numbers engaged.
This is a new and peculiar argument against keeping our army down to a ridiculous figure in the matter of numbers.
Numbers and sizes and distances are so great, here, that we have to be made so we can FEEL them - our old ways of counting and measuring and ciphering wouldn't ever give us an idea of them, but would only confuse us and oppress us and make our heads ache.
Knightley, their own especial set, were the only persons invited to meet them;the hours were to be early, as well as the numbers few; Mr.