- one of the numerals in the ancient Roman system of notation, still used for certain limited purposes, as in some pagination, dates on buildings, etc. The common basic symbols are I (=1), V (=5), X (=10), L (=50), C (=100), D (=500), and M (=1000). The Roman numerals for one to nine are: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX. A bar over a letter multiplies it by 1000; thus, X̅ equals 10,000. Integers are written according to these two rules: If a letter is immediately followed by one of equal or lesser value, the two values are added; thus, XX equals 20, XV equals 15, VI equals 6. If a letter is immediately followed by one of greater value, the first is subtracted from the second; thus, IV equals 4, XL equals 40, CM equals 900. Examples: XLVII(=47), CXVI(=116), MCXX(=1120), MCMXIV(=1914). Roman numerals may be written in lowercase letters, though they appear more commonly in capitals.
Origin of Roman numeral
- 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
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.