[ noun uh-rith-muh-tik; adjective ar-ith-met-ik ]
See synonyms for arithmetic on
  1. the method or process of computation with figures: the most elementary branch of mathematics.

  2. Also called higher arithmetic, the·o·ret·i·cal a·rith·me·tic [thee-uh-ret-i-kuhluh-rith-muh-tik] /ˌθi əˈrɛt ɪ kəl əˈrɪθ mə tɪk/ . the theory of numbers; the study of the divisibility of whole numbers, the remainders after division, etc.

  1. a book on this subject.

adjectivear·ith·met·ic [ar-ith-met-ik] /ˌær ɪθˈmɛt ɪk/
  1. Also arithmetical. of or relating to arithmetic.

Origin of arithmetic

1200–50; <Latin arithmētica, feminine singular of arithmēticus<Greek arithmētikḗ (téchnē) (art, skill) of numbers, equivalent to arithmé(ein) to reckon + -t(o)- verbal adjective + -ikḗ-ic; replacing Middle English arsmet(r)ike<Old French arismetique<Medieval Latin arismētica, with s for Late Greek th

Other words from arithmetic

  • ar·ith·met·i·cal·ly, adverb
  • non·ar·ith·met·ic, adjective
  • non·ar·ith·met·i·cal, adjective
  • non·ar·ith·met·i·cal·ly, adverb
  • un·ar·ith·met·i·cal, adjective
  • un·ar·ith·met·i·cal·ly, adverb

Words Nearby arithmetic Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use arithmetic in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for arithmetic


/ (əˈrɪθmətɪk) /

  1. the branch of mathematics concerned with numerical calculations, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division

  2. one or more calculations involving numerical operations

  1. knowledge of or skill in using arithmetic: his arithmetic is good

adjective(ˌærɪθˈmɛtɪk) ˌarith'metical
  1. of, relating to, or using arithmetic

Origin of arithmetic

C13: from Latin arithmētica, from Greek arithmētikē, from arithmein to count, from arithmos number

Derived forms of arithmetic

  • arithmetically, adverb
  • arithmetician, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for arithmetic


[ ə-rĭthmĭ-tĭk ]

  1. The mathematics of integers, rational numbers, real numbers, or complex numbers under the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.