noun (used with a singular verb)
- a considerable amount or quantity; many: Numbers flocked to the city to see the parade.
- metrical feet; verse.
- musical periods, measures, or groups of notes.
- numbers pool(def 1).
- Informal.the figures representing the actual cost, expense, profit, etc.: We won't make a decision until we see the numbers.
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
- according to standard procedure, rules, customs, etc.; orthodoxly; by the book: We're going to run things here by the numbers.
- together or in unison to a called-out count: calisthenics by the numbers.
- to undermine, defeat, humiliate, or criticize thoroughly: The committee really did a number on the mayor's proposal.
- to discuss or discourse about, especially in an entertaining way: She could do a number on anything from dentistry to the Bomb.
- to give a performance; perform: It's time for you to get on stage and do your number.
- Slang.to behave in a predictable or customary manner: Whenever I call, he does his number about being too busy to talk.
- one is (was, will be) in serious trouble.
- one is (was, will be) on the point of death: Convinced that her number was up anyway, she refused to see doctors.
Origin of number
Synonyms for number
Related Words for numberssum, total, figure, statistic, product, many, company, collection, volume, amount, lot, estimate, quantity, tally, include, count, digit, emblem, prime, symbol
Examples from the Web for numbers
Contemporary Examples of numbers
And too much of a focus on numbers can obscure strategic truths.Pentagon Doesn’t Know How Many People It’s Killed in the ISIS War
Nancy A. Youssef
January 7, 2015
The numbers reinforce another article in the Post, in which cops confessed to “turning a blind eye” to minor crimes.Ground Zero of the NYPD Slowdown
January 1, 2015
That was the extent of it during the peak of the flames, and the numbers that swooshed around in the press the next day.The Fiery Death of Sotto Sotto, Toronto’s Celebrity Hotspot
December 30, 2014
Well, the numbers tell us so, as do all of our day-to-day interactions, just as the president said.Obama Is Right on Race. The Media Is Wrong.
December 29, 2014
These are the numbers as reported to the government by police departments themselves.The NY Police Union’s Vile War with Mayor De Blasio
December 21, 2014
Historical Examples of numbers
Fine pools for the first six miles, with numbers of ducks in them.Explorations in Australia
Many of the numbers bear the name of an old colonial dignitary.Old News
But the troops were now deployed and able to bring their numbers to bear.
They were nearly equal in numbers to any two battalions in the brigade.
His numbers were very inferior, and almost the whole were slain.Cameos from English History, from Rollo to Edward II
Charlotte Mary Yonge
- a self-contained piece of pop or jazz music
- a self-contained part of an opera or other musical score, esp one for the stage
verb (mainly tr)
Word Origin for number
c.1300, "to count," from Old French nombrer "to count, reckon," from nombre (n.) "number" (see number (n.)). Meaning "to assign a number to" is late 14c.; that of "to ascertain the number of" is from early 15c. Related: Numbered; numbering.
c.1300, "sum, aggregate of a collection," from Anglo-French noumbre, Old French nombre and directly from Latin numerus "a number, quantity," from PIE root *nem- "to divide, distribute, allot" (related to Greek nemein "to deal out;" see nemesis). Meaning "symbol or figure of arithmatic value" is from late 14c. Meaning "single (numbered) issue of a magazine" is from 1795. The meaning "musical selection" (1885) is from vaudeville theater programs, where acts were marked by a number. Meaning "dialing combination to reach a particular telephone receiver" is from 1879; hence wrong number (1886).
Number one "oneself" is from 1704 (mock-Italian form numero uno attested from 1973); the biblical Book of Numbers (c.1400, Latin Numeri, Greek Arithmoi) so called because it begins with a census of the Israelites. Slang number one and number two for "urination" and "defecation" attested from 1902. Number cruncher is 1966, of machines; 1971, of persons. To get or have (someone's) number "have someone figured out" is attested from 1853. The numbers "illegal lottery" is from 1897, American English.
In addition to the idiom beginning with number
- number is up, one's
- a number of
- any number of
- back number
- by the numbers
- crunch numbers
- days are numbered
- do a job (number) on
- get (have) someone's number
- hot number
- in round numbers
- look out for (number one)
- opposite number
- safety in numbers