Learner's definition of NUMBER
1 [count] : a word or symbol (such as “five” or “16”) that represents a specific amount or quantity
the number seven
He wrote down two numbers [=numerals]: 3 and 9.
the numbers and letters on a license plate
a three-digit number like 429
Think of a number between one and one hundred.
The number 7³/₄ is greater than the number 7.25.
2, 4, 6, and 8 are even numbers; 1, 3, 5, and 7 are odd numbers.
Let's say I have $100 to spend—that's a nice, round number. [=a number that is easily multiplied, divided, etc., and especially a number that ends in zero]
2 a : a number or a set of numbers and other symbols that is used to identify a person or thing
— abbreviation No. or no. b : a person who is identified by a number and not treated in a personal or friendly way c : phone number
a student's ID/identification number
Never give out your credit card number to anyone over the phone.
What's the account number on your electricity bill?
The page numbers are on the top corner of each page.
Today's winning lottery numbers are 17, 8, and 46.
I'm waiting for the number 3 bus.
Flight number 101 from Los Angeles to London is now boarding at Gate number 36.
What's the answer to question number 6?
My daughter's the pitcher, number 21.
What's your work/office/daytime number?
My home number is (413) 555-2917.
Call our toll-free number.
Did you get her number? = Did she give you her number?
Well, you've got my number. Give me a call sometime.
“May I speak with Sara, please?” “I'm sorry. You must have the wrong number.”
3 a : the total amount of people or things
— often + of
Fish were once plentiful in this river, but they have since declined in numbers. [=there are now fewer fish than there once were]
New houses are being built in record numbers. [=more new houses are being built now than ever before]
Were you surprised by the number of people who came to the party?
More should be done to decrease the number of violent crimes in the city.
Large numbers of people have left. [=many people have left]
Serious side effects were observed in a small number of patients. [=a few patients had serious side effects]
A good number of college students [=many college students] have entered the competition.
There are a number of [=several] different options to choose from.
Some students have already been absent on a number of occasions.
The dish can be prepared in any number of ways. [=many different ways]
Residents have left the city for any number of reasons.
b numbers [plural] : a large group of people or things
They have declined in number. [=there are not as many of them as there were before]
The protesters were few in number, but they were very loud.
4 a — used to indicate the position of someone or something in a numbered list or series — abbreviation No. or no. b : the version of a magazine, newspaper, etc., that is published at a particular time
— abbreviation No. or no.
The article is in volume 36, number 2 of this journal.
(Brit) the June number [=(US) issue] of the magazine
5 [singular], formal : a group of people 6 [count] : a song or dance that is usually performed as part of a concert or performance 7 [count], informal : someone or something that is attractive or desirable
She wore a cute little black number [=a small attractive black dress] to the dance.
I just bought a new car: a fast, blue number.
I'm going to ask that hot number [=attractive girl or woman] over there if she'll dance with me.
8 numbers [plural] : numbers that show amounts of money that are spent, earned, or needed
We won't be able to stay in business with numbers like these!
I'm afraid the numbers just don't make your idea a profitable option.
I don't know if we can afford it. I have to look at the numbers.
I ran the numbers [=determined the amount of money to be spent, earned, etc.], and I just don't think we can afford it.
When we sat down to crunch the numbers [=to calculate exactly how much money is available, needed, etc.], we realized that we couldn't afford a new car.
numbers chiefly US [plural]
9 a : numbers that show how many people are listening to or watching a particular radio or television program b : numbers that show how a person (such as an athlete) has performed in the past
Her numbers [=statistics, stats] make her the team's most valuable player.
I don't remember all of his numbers, but I know he hit 33 home runs last year.
10 numbers [plural], US : a gambling game in which people bet on which numbers will be chosen each day — often used before another noun
an illegal numbers game
the numbers racket
11 [noncount], grammar : the quality of a word form that shows whether the word is singular or plural
bad/good (etc.) with numbers
: bad, good, etc., at using numbers (such as for adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing)
What's 43 times 12? Oh, I don't know—I'm bad/lousy with numbers. [=I am bad at mathematics]
Ask her to do the books, she's good with numbers.
beyond numberformal + literary
by numbersor USby the numbers
: in a way that follows the rules or instructions but that is not interesting or original
do a number oninformal
: to have a very bad effect on (someone or something) : to hurt or damage (someone or something)
have someone's numberinformal
: to be able to deal with or defeat someone easily especially because you know or understand that person so well
your number is up
◊ If your number is up, you are about to suffer or die.
numbers; numbered; numbering
numbers; numbered; numbering
Learner's definition of NUMBER
1 [+ object] : to give a number to (someone or something in a series) : to label or identify (people or things in a series) with a number
She numbers and arranges the photographs according to when they were taken.
For the quiz, take out a sheet of paper and number it from one to ten. [=write the numbers one through ten down the side of the paper]
Each print is signed and numbered by the artist.
The team's coach bought all the players numbered jerseys.
2 — used to indicate a total amount
The population now numbers about 400,000. [=the population is now about 400,000]
In that year, European settlers in the area numbered nearly 15,000.
Though his years number only 45 [=though he is only 45 years old], he looks like an old man.
3 somewhat formal : to include (someone or something) as part of a larger group — + among or with
— usually used as (be) numbered
She numbers among her friends three Nobel Prize winners. = She numbers three Nobel Prize winners among her friends. [=three of her friends are Nobel Prize winners]
He numbers her with the other great poets of the time.
days are numbered
— used to say that someone or something will die, fail, or end soon
The doctors have told me that my days are numbered. [=I will die soon]
He knew that his days as the team's coach were numbered. [=that he was going to be fired from his job as the team's coach soon]
The days of large gas-guzzling cars are numbered. [=people will not be making/buying large gas-guzzling cars for much longer]