A number is a mathematical object used to count, label, and measure. In mathematics, the definition of number has been extended over the years to include such numbers as zero, negative numbers, rational numbers, irrational numbers, and complex numbers.
Mathematical operations are certain procedures that take one or more numbers as input and produce a number as output. Unary operations take a single input number and produce a single output number. For example, the successor operation adds one to an integer, thus the successor of 4 is 5. Binary operations take two input numbers and produce a single output number. Examples of binary operations include addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and exponentiation. The study of numerical operations is called arithmetic.
A notational symbol that represents a number is called a numeral. In addition to their use in counting and measuring, numerals are often used for labels (telephone numbers), for ordering (serial numbers), and for codes (e.g., ISBNs).
In common use, the word number can mean the abstract object, the symbol, or the word for the number.
Famous quotes containing the word number:
“At thirty years a woman asks her lover to give her back the esteem she has forfeited for his sake; she lives only for him, her thoughts are full of his future, he must have a great career, she bids him make it glorious; she can obey, entreat, command, humble herself, or rise in pride; times without number she brings comfort when a young girl can only make moan.”
—Honoré De Balzac (17991850)
“Strange goings on! Jones did it slowly, deliberately, in the bathroom, with a knife, at midnight. What he did was butter a piece of toast. We are too familiar with the language of action to notice at first an anomaly: the it of Jones did it slowly, deliberately,... seems to refer to some entity, presumably an action, that is then characterized in a number of ways.”
—Donald Davidson (b. 1917)
“Of all reformers Mr. Sentiment is the most powerful. It is incredible the number of evil practices he has put down: it is to be feared he will soon lack subjects, and that when he has made the working classes comfortable, and got bitter beer into proper-sized pint bottles, there will be nothing left for him to do.”
—Anthony Trollope (18151882)