CATHERINE GASS
inFROM/FORMer: Numbers
1997
inFROM/FORMer: Numbers

Num·ber
Pronunciation: 'n&m-b&r
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English nombre, from Anglo-French, from Latin numerus
1 a (1) : a sum of units : TOTAL (2) : COMPLEMENT 1b (3) : an indefinite usually large total <a number of members were absent> <the number of elderly is rising> (4) plural : a numerous group : MANY (5) : a numerical preponderance b (1) : the characteristic of an individual by which it is treated as a unit or of a collection by which it is treated in terms of units (2) : an ascertainable total <bugs beyond number> c (1) : a unit belonging to an abstract mathematical system and subject to specified laws of succession, addition, and multiplication; especially : NATURAL NUMBER (2) : an element (as &#960;) of any of many mathematical systems obtained by extension of or analogy with the natural number system (3) plural : ARITHMETIC
2 : a distinction of word form to denote reference to one or more than one; also : a form or group of forms so distinguished
3 plural a (1) : metrical structure : METER (2) : metrical lines : VERSES b archaic : musical sounds : NOTES
4 a : a word, symbol, letter, or combination of symbols representing a number b : a numeral or combination of numerals or other symbols used to identify or designate <dialed the wrong number> c (1) : a member of a sequence or collection designated by especially consecutive numbers (as an issue of a periodical) (2) : a position in a numbered sequence d : a group of one kind <not of their number>
5 : one singled out from a group : INDIVIDUAL: as a : GIRL, WOMAN <met an attractive number at the dance> b (1) : a musical, theatrical, or literary selection or production (2) : ROUTINE, ACT c : STUNT, TRICK d : an act of transforming or impairing <tripped and did a number on her knee> e : an item of merchandise and especially clothing
6 : insight into a person's ability or character <had my number>
7 plural but singular or plural in construction a : a form of lottery in which an individual wagers on the appearance of a certain combination of digits (as in regularly published numbers ) -- called also numbers game b : 2POLICY 2a
8 plural a : figures representing amounts of money usually in dollars spent, earned, or involved b (1) : STATISTICS 2; especially : individual statistics (as of an athlete) (2) : RATING 3c
9 : a person represented by a number or considered without regard to individuality <at the university I was just a number>
10 : LIFETIME 1a -- used with up <the old feeling that comes to men in combat...that your number was up -- Geoffrey Norman>
usage see AMOUNT
- by the numbers
1 : in unison to a specific count or cadence
2 : in a systematic, routine, or mechanical manner
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