from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Arithmetic.
  • noun A symbol or word used to represent a number.
  • noun A numeral or a series of numerals used for reference or identification.
  • noun A position in an ordered sequence that corresponds to one of the positive integers.
  • noun One item in a group or series considered to be in numerical order.
  • noun A total; a sum.
  • noun An indefinite quantity of units or individuals.
  • noun A large quantity; a multitude.
  • noun Numerical superiority.
  • noun Grammar The indication, as by inflection, of the singularity, duality, or plurality of a linguistic form.
  • noun Metrical feet or lines; verses.
  • noun Obsolete Poetic meter.
  • noun Archaic Musical periods or measures.
  • noun Games A numbers game.
  • noun One of the separate offerings in a program of music or other entertainment.
  • noun Slang A frequently repeated, characteristic speech, argument, or performance.
  • noun Slang A person or thing singled out for a particular characteristic.
  • intransitive verb To assign a number to or mark with a number.
  • intransitive verb To determine the number or amount of; count.
  • intransitive verb To total in number or amount; add up to.
  • intransitive verb To include in a group or category.
  • intransitive verb To limit or restrict in number.
  • intransitive verb To call off numbers; count.
  • intransitive verb To have as a total; amount to a number.
  • idiom (by the numbers) In unison as numbers are called out by a leader.
  • idiom (by the numbers) In a strict, step-by-step or mechanical way.
  • idiom (do a number on) To defeat, abuse, or humiliate in a calculated and thorough way.
  • idiom (get/have) To determine or know someone's real character or motives.
  • idiom (without/beyond) Too many to be counted; countless.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun That character of a collection or plurality by virtue of which, when the individuals constituting it are counted, the count ends at a certain point—that is, with a certain numeral; also, the point (or numeral) at which the count ends. See def. 3.
  • noun Quantity or amount considered as an aggregate of the individuals composing it; aggregate.
  • noun A numeral, or word used in counting: otherwise called a cardinal number: as, the number that comes after 4 is 5; also, in a wider sense, any numerical expression denoting a quantity, magnitude, or measure.
  • noun A written arithmetical figure or series of figures signifying a numeral.
  • noun A collection; a lot; a class.
  • noun A considerable collection; a large class.
  • noun The capacity of being counted: used especially in the hyperbolical phrase without number.
  • noun A numeral of a series affixed in regular order to a series of things: as, the number of a house in a street.
  • noun One of a series of things distinguished by consecutive numerals: used especially of serial publications.
  • noun The doctrine and properties of numerals and their relations.
  • noun Numerousness; the character of being a large collection: used in this sense both in the singular and in the plural.
  • noun In grammar, that distinctive form which a word assumes according as it is said of or expresses one individual or more than one.
  • noun In phrenology, one of the perceptive faculties, whose alleged organ is situated a little to the side of the outer angle of the eye, and whose function is to give a talent for calculation in general.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Anglo-Norman noumbre, from Old French nombre, from Latin numerus, from Proto-Indo-European *nem- (“to divide”).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From numb + -er.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word number.


  • And the interaction with the customer rep. led me through several instances of Things I Don't Care About: type of my account, account number (I know my _member number_, but not my account numbers), my phone banking password (I call them once a year, roughly, and they still want me to remember a token for them...) et.c...

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  • Finding that I could not eat, the old lady, who was a "Thompsonian," made me a cup of "composition," or "number six;" but it was so strong and hot, that I called it "_number seven_" However, I soon found myself at home in this family.

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  • The above expression must therefore be diminished by the number of units in x/4, or by (x/4) _w (this notation being used to denote the quotient, _in a whole number_, that arises from dividing x by 4).

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  • _Adjectives_ express the _qualities_ which distinguish one person or thing from another; in one form they express quality _without comparison_; in another, they express comparison _between two_, or between _one_ and a number taken collectively, -- and in a third they express comparison between _one_ and a _number_ of others taken separately.

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  • This would result in twelve columns of equal number of cards, as seen in tableau, _but for the following conditions_: In dealing the first eight cards, count them as you deal, from one to eight, and when any card is suitable for a foundation, or to continue a foundation, play it, counting the next card as the _following number_.

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  • But I agree with Mr. Kinnaird perfectly, that the concluding _five hundred_ should be only _conditional_; and for my own sake, I wish it to be added, only in case of your selling a certain number, _that number_ to be fixed by _yourself_.

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  • 582 : 285 :: bob : ?

    Answer at the '?' link.

    December 2, 2007

  • Here's a clue if you need it.

    December 2, 2007

  • bob?

    December 2, 2007

  • That would be dod. All we need is a meaning for it now. How about: the process of extinction, tail first, of flightless birds.

    December 2, 2007

  • Mirrors swap up for down, not right for left. dod is a further manipulation, therefore incorrect.

    December 2, 2007

  • On which planet?

    December 2, 2007

  • The translation is about the horizontal axis only. Look in a mirror and touch your right ear with your right hand. Apparently (in the mirror) your left hand touches your left ear, but it is in fact still your right hand touching your right ear. It is in this sense that I reject dod. BTW, I love your definition for dod!

    More: if you get on an airplane and the flight attendant says your seat is on the right, does she mean airplane right or your right? For aircrews the designation of right and left refers to the airplane right and left, which is opposite to what the passenger sees on boarding...just like a mirror image.

    December 2, 2007

  • I thought the perception in the mirror was the point. And to demonstrate the hold that Wordie/oroboros have on me, I wrote bob on a piece of paper and went in to the bathroom to check! That's where dod comes from. Oh well, they say mirrors don't lie but mine's been telling quite a few porkies since I passed thirty.

    December 2, 2007

  • Haha! Great minds think alike. I did the same thing when I was setting up the puzzle. ;oD

    It's complicated and confusing, especially when you start fooling around with other manipulations in the mirror. For example bob can become dod, pop or '909' depending on how you flip the surface it is written on to present it to the mirror! See flipped image v. flopped image here.

    December 2, 2007

  • bob shot my pop and now he's dod.

    December 2, 2007

  • You're sounding strangely Bubby there, sionnach.

    December 2, 2007

  • After a number of injections my jaw got number.

    August 3, 2010

  • Oh wow - my dentist's name is Bob. He really is everywhere.

    August 3, 2010

  • His procedures are subobtuse (obtooths)?

    August 3, 2010

  • Whoa. I just looked up dod and saw that The Century Dictionary has six definitions:

    "1. In tile-making, a mold with an annular throat through which clay is forced to form drain-pipe.

    2. To beat; beat out.

    3. To cut off; lop; shear.

    4. A shell.

    5. A fit of ill humor or sullenness.

    6. The foxtail reed."

    August 5, 2010

  • Try dodman.

    August 5, 2010

  • Thanks, mollusque - dod shows up again in the etymology for doddered.

    August 5, 2010