Roman numerals


pl n

the letters used by the Romans for the representation of cardinal numbers, still used occasionally today. The integers are represented by the following letters: I (= 1), V (= 5), X (= 10), L (= 50), C (= 100), D (= 500), and M (= 1000). If a numeral is followed by another numeral of lower denomination, the two are added together; if it is preceded by one of lower denomination, the smaller numeral is subtracted from the greater. Thus VI = 6 (V + I), but IV = 4 (V – I). Other examples are XC (= 90), CL (= 150), XXV (= 25), XLIV (= 44). Multiples of a thousand are indicated by a superior bar: thus, ̅V = 5000, ̅X = 10 000, ̅X̅D = 490 000, etc

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Cultural definitions for Roman numerals

Roman numerals

Letters of the alphabet used in ancient Rome to represent numbers: I = 1; V = 5; X = 10; L = 50; C = 100; D = 500; M = 1000. The numbers one through ten are written I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, and X. Roman numerals are often used to signify divisions of a long work, or of a work with many parts. They are also used to lend significance to something, as in Super Bowl VII. Formal designation of years may also be in Roman numerals: a.d. MCMLXXXIX = a.d. 1989.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.