[noun uh-rith-muh-tik; adjective ar-ith-met-ik]
See more synonyms for arithmetic on
  1. the method or process of computation with figures: the most elementary branch of mathematics.
  2. Also called higher arithmetic, theoretical arithmetic. the theory of numbers; the study of the divisibility of whole numbers, the remainders after division, etc.
  3. a book on this subject.
adjective ar·ith·met·ic [ar-ith-met-ik] /ˌær ɪθˈmɛt ɪk/
  1. Also ar·ith·met·i·cal. 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
Related formsar·ith·met·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·ar·ith·met·ic, adjectivenon·ar·ith·met·i·cal, adjectivenon·ar·ith·met·i·cal·ly, adverbun·ar·ith·met·i·cal, adjectiveun·ar·ith·met·i·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for arithmetical

Historical Examples of arithmetical

  • There are forces in the world which work, not in an arithmetical, but in a geometrical ratio of increase.

  • We advance not in arithmetical but in geometrical progression.

  • Then we have Arithmetical Puzzles, an immense class, full of diversity.

    The Canterbury Puzzles

    Henry Ernest Dudeney

  • His labours to perfect his arithmetical machine had seriously impaired it.


    John Tulloch

  • His wealth increased not in arithmetical but in geometrical progression.

    Godfrey Morgan

    Jules Verne

British Dictionary definitions for arithmetical


  1. the branch of mathematics concerned with numerical calculations, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
  2. one or more calculations involving numerical operations
  3. knowledge of or skill in using arithmetichis arithmetic is good
adjective (ˌærɪθˈmɛtɪk) ˌarith'metical
  1. of, relating to, or using arithmetic
Derived Formsarithmetically, adverbarithmetician, noun

Word Origin for arithmetic

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

Word Origin and History for arithmetical

1540s; see arithmetic + -al (1). Related: Arithmetically (late 15c.).



mid-13c., arsmetike, from Old French arsmetique (12c.), from Latin arithmetica, from Greek arithmetike (tekhne) "(the) counting (art)," fem. of arithmetikos "of or for reckoning, arithmetical," from arithmos "number, counting, amount," from PIE root *re(i)- "to reason, count" (cf. Old English, Old High German rim "number;" Old Irish rim "number," dorimu "I count;" Latin ritus "religious custom;" see read).

Originally in English also arsmetrik, on folk etymology from Medieval Latin ars metrica; spelling corrected early 16c. Replaced native tælcræft, literally "tell-craft."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

arithmetical in Science


  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.