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:
“I will not adopt that ungenerous and impolitic custom so common with novel writers, of degrading by their contemptuous censure the very performances, to the number of which they are themselves addingjoining with their greatest enemies in bestowing the harshest epithets on such works, and scarcely ever permitting them to be read by their own heroine, who, if she accidentally take up a novel, is sure to turn over its insipid leaves with disgust.”
—Jane Austen (17751817)
“The poetic act consists of suddenly seeing that an idea splits up into a number of equal motifs and of grouping them; they rhyme.”
—Stéphane Mallarmé (18421898)
“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)