1 noun
1 NUMBER (C) a word or sign which represents an amount or a quantity: Add together the following numbers: 1027, 643, and 378. | high/low number: Choose a fairly low number - under 100, say. | even number (=2, 4, 6, 8, 10 etc) | odd number (=1, 3, 5, 7, 9 etc) | round number (=a number ending in 0): I'll give her -17 - no, make it -20. That's a good round number. | be good/no good etc with numbers informal (=to be good, bad etc at calculating things using numbers)
—see also: cardinal number, ordinal number, prime number, whole number
2 IN A SET/LIST (C) a number used to show the position of something in an ordered set or list: We live at 107 Castle Street. | Answer question number 4. | a number 17 bus
—see also: E number, No. 10, number one 1
3 model/account/fax etc number a number used to communicate with someone, to find information about someone or something etc: What is your account number, please?
—see also: box number, PIN, serial number
4 TELEPHONE a telephone number: My new number is 502655. | sb's home/office/work number: I gave him my home number. | wrong number: “Is that 70348?” - “No, I'm afraid you have the wrong number.”
5 CAR BrE the official series of numbers and letters shown on a motor vehicle; registration number: Did you get the number of the car?
6 AMOUNT (singular) also numbers plural an amount of something that can be counted; a quantity: The number of cars on our roads rose dramatically last year. | Estimates put the number of deaths at between three and five thousand. | a large/great/small etc number of also large/great/small etc numbers of: Doctors believe only a tiny number of people are at risk. | in large/great/small etc numbers: They were printed in limited numbers. | bring the number of sth to five/ten etc: This latest bomb brings the number of terrorist attacks this year to seven. | ten/twelve etc in number formal: A small number of protesters, about 20 in number, gathered outside.
—see amount 1
7 numbers (plural) how many people there are, especially people attending an event or doing an activity together: Can you give me some idea of numbers? | student/client etc numbers: Visitor numbers increase in the summer.
8 by (sheer) force/weight of numbers if a group of people is defeated by force of numbers, it is defeated because many more people are attacking or opposing it
9 a number of formal several: She has written a number of articles for the local paper. | a good number of/quite a number of (=a lot of): Darke knew a good number of people with government connections. | a number of ways/reasons/factors etc (=various different ways etc): These paintings differ from his earlier ones in a number of ways. | any number of: There could be any number of reasons why she's late.
10 some/none/20 etc of sb's number formal some etc of a group of people: Only three of our number could speak Italian.
11 MUSIC (C) a piece of popular music that forms part of a longer performance: Madonna sang several numbers from her latest album.
—see also: production number
12 a recent/an old/last month's number BrE a copy of a magazine printed recently, a long time ago etc; issue 1 (2) AmE: back number (=an old copy of a magazine)
13 have sb's number informal to understand something about someone that helps you deal with them: You'll never fool her, Mike - she's got your number!
14 sb's number is up/has come up informal someone will suffer or be punished: Your number's up Hanks!
15 black/elegant etc (little) number informal a black etc dress: Sue turned up in a very elegant number.
16 sb's number comes up someone has the winning number in a competition
17 the number of times I've spoken used to say that you have done something many times, without any result: Honestly, the number of times I've told that girl not to walk home alone.
18 the numbers an illegal game in the US in which people risk money on the appearance of a combination of numbers in a newspaper: playing the numbers
19 beyond/without number literary if things are beyond number, there are so many of them that no one could count them all
20 GRAMMAR (U) technical the form of a word, depending on whether one thing or more than one thing is being talked about: `Horses' is plural in number, `horse' is singular.
2 verb
1 (T) to give a number to something that is part of an ordered set or list: They haven't numbered the pages of the report. | All the seats in the theatre are numbered. | number sth (from) 1 to 10/100 etc: Number the questions 1 to 25. | a numbering system
2 his/their/its days are numbered someone or something cannot live or continue much longer
3 number several thousands/almost a million etc to be several thousands etc: The crowd numbered at least 7000. | The men on strike now number 5% of the workforce.
4 number among/ be numbered among formal to be included as one of a particular group: Amis numbers among the best of our younger writers.
5 (T) literary to count: Who can number the stars?
number off phrasal verb (I) BrE technical if soldiers number off, they call out their number when their turn comes; count off AmE

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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