number ( numbers plural & 3rd person present) ( numbering present participle) ( numbered past tense & past participle )
1 n-count A number is a word such as `two', `nine', or `twelve', or a symbol such as 1, 3, or 47. You use numbers to say how many things you are referring to or where something comes in a series.
usu with supp
No, I don't know the room number..., Stan Laurel was born at number 3, Argyll Street..., The number 47 bus leaves in 10 minutes.
2 n-count You use number with words such as `large' or `small' to say approximately how many things or people there are.
adj N, usu N of n
Quite a considerable number of interviews are going on..., I have had an enormous number of letters from single parents..., Growing numbers of people in the rural areas are too frightened to vote.
3 n-sing If there are anumberof things or people, there are several of them. If there are anynumberof things or people, there is a large quantity of them.
a/any N, usu N of n
I seem to remember that Sam told a number of lies..., There must be any number of people in my position.
4 n-uncount You can refer to someone's or something's position in a list of the most successful or most popular of a particular type of thing as, for example, number one or number two.
...the world number one, Tiger Woods..., Before you knew it, the single was at Number 90 in the US singles charts...
5 verb If a group of people or things numbers a particular total, that is how many there are.
They told me that their village numbered 100... V num
This time the dead were numbered in hundreds, not dozens. be V-ed in num, Also V n in num
6 n-count A number is the series of numbers that you dial when you are making a telephone call.
Sarah sat down and dialled a number., ...a list of names and telephone numbers..., My number is 414-3925..., `You must have a wrong number,' she said. `There's no one of that name here.'
7 n-count You can refer to a short piece of music, a song, or a dance as a number.
...`Unforgettable', a number that was written and performed in 1951..., Responsibility for the dance numbers was split between Robert Alton and the young George Balanchine.
8 verb If someone or something is numberedamong a particular group, they are believed to belong in that group.
FORMAL The Leicester Swannington Railway is numbered among Britain's railway pioneers... be V-ed among n
He numbered several Americans among his friends. V n among n
9 verb If you number something, you mark it with a number, usually starting at 1.
He cut his paper up into tiny squares, and he numbered each one... V n
11 If you say that someone's or something's days are numbered, you mean that they will not survive or be successful for much longer.
sb's/sth's days are numbered phrase V inflects, with poss
Critics believe his days are numbered because audiences are tired of watching him.
12 If you refer to the numbers game, the numbers racket, or the numbers, you are referring to an illegal lottery or illegal betting.
the numbers game/racket phrase
safety in numbers →
back number ( back numbers plural ) A back number of a magazine or newspaper is the same as a back issue. n-count
box number ( box numbers plural ) A box number is a number used as an address, for example one given by a newspaper for replies to a private advertisement, or one used by an organization for the letters sent to it. n-count
cardinal number ( cardinal numbers plural ) A cardinal number is a number such as 1, 3, or 10 that tells you how many things there are in a group but not what order they are in. Compare ordinal number. n-count
E number ( E numbers plural ) E numbers are artificial substances which are added to some foods and drinks to improve their flavour or colour or to make them last longer. They are called E numbers because they are represented in Europe by code names which begin with the letter `E'.
license number ( license numbers plural ) The license number of a car or other road vehicle is the series of letters and numbers that are shown at the front and back of it.
in BRIT, use registration number
number cruncher ( number crunchers plural ) If you refer to number crunchers, you mean people whose jobs involve dealing with numbers or mathematical calculations, for example in finance or statistics.
INFORMAL n-count usu pl
Even if the recovery is under way, it may be some time before the official number crunchers confirm it.
If you refer to number crunching, you mean activities or processes concerned with numbers or mathematical calculation, for example in finance, statistics, or computing.
INFORMAL n-uncount oft N n
The computer does most of the number crunching.
number one ( number ones plural )
1 adj Number one means better, more important, or more popular than anything else of its kind.
INFORMAL ADJ n
The economy is the number one issue by far..., By the way, I'm your number-one fan.
2 n-count In popular music, the number one is the best selling CD in any one week, or the group or person who has made that CD.
INFORMAL Paula is the only artist to achieve four number ones from a debut album.
number plate ( number plates plural ) , numberplate A number plate is a sign on the front and back of a vehicle that shows its registration number.
He drove a Rolls-Royce with a personalised number plate.
in AM, use license plate
Number Ten is often used to refer to 10 Downing Street, London, which is the official home of the British Prime Minister. n-proper
He called senior Unionist politicians to a meeting at Number Ten...
opposite number ( opposite numbers plural ) Your opposite number is a person who has the same job or rank as you, but works in a different department, firm, or organization. (JOURNALISM) n-count usu poss N
The French Defence Minister is to visit Japan later this month for talks with his Japanese opposite number...
ordinal number ( ordinal numbers plural ) An ordinal number or an ordinal is a word such as `first', `third', and `tenth' that tells you where a particular thing occurs in a sequence of things. Compare cardinal number. n-count
prime number ( prime numbers plural ) In mathematics, a prime number is a whole number greater than 1 that cannot be divided exactly by any whole number except itself and the number 1, for example 17. n-count
registration number ( registration numbers plural ) The registration number or the registration of a car or other road vehicle is the series of letters and numbers that are shown at the front and back of it.
Another driver managed to get the registration number of the car.
in AM, use license number
serial number ( serial numbers plural )
1 n-count The serial number of an object is a number on that object which identifies it.
oft with poss
...the gun's serial number., ...your bike's serial number...
2 n-count The serial number of a member of the United States military forces is a number which identifies them.
telephone number ( telephone numbers plural ) Your telephone number is the number that other people dial when they want to talk to you on the telephone. n-count
whole number ( whole numbers plural ) A whole number is an exact number such as 1, 7, and 24, as opposed to a number with fractions or decimals. n-count