from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun skill with numbers and mathematics; -- the skill with numbers analogous to literacy, the skill of reading.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The quality of being numerate; numerical skill

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun skill with numbers and mathematics


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Portmanteau of "numerical literacy", coined in 1959 by the UK Committee on Education, presided over by Sir Geoffrey Crowther.


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  • Numeracy and literacy are not antonyms!! Numeracy might be a specific form of literacy, as in the ability to read and write quantitative information. Alternatively, numeracy might be a complementary skill to literacy: reading, thinking, and writing with words is complemented by the ability to read, think, and write with numbers. One could argue that literacy is primary and numeracy is secondary, but the idea that these two abilities are opposed is nonsense. The book Mathematics & Democracy: The Case for Quantitative Literacy offers an extensive discussion of the definition of numeracy, and quantitative literacy, which the book treats as a synonym. Consider this gem, for instance: "As it turns out, it is not calculus but numeracy that is the key to understanding our data-drenched society."

    October 4, 2015