Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


You have changed a number of spoken words into a number of pothooks and scrawls.

Heard a number of natives cooeying above our camp, but did not see them.

Our nation is in number more than half that of the British Isles.

I suppose there are a number of girls here, although it's early.

We have saved a number of countries from losing their liberty.

Some declared it impossible any house in that square should hold the number invited.

He then went on to give a number of examples in point, of which we select a few.

The first number of which will be issued under date of April 2.

Rib roasts should be bought by designating the number of ribs.

I happen to know one of our number who can write a very enviable hand.


c.1300, "sum, aggregate of a collection," from Anglo-French noumbre, Old French nombre and directly from Latin numerus "a number, quantity," from PIE root *nem- "to divide, distribute, allot" (related to Greek nemein "to deal out;" see nemesis). Meaning "symbol or figure of arithmatic value" is from late 14c. Meaning "single (numbered) issue of a magazine" is from 1795. The meaning "musical selection" (1885) is from vaudeville theater programs, where acts were marked by a number. Meaning "dialing combination to reach a particular telephone receiver" is from 1879; hence wrong number (1886).

Number one "oneself" is from 1704 (mock-Italian form numero uno attested from 1973); the biblical Book of Numbers (c.1400, Latin Numeri, Greek Arithmoi) so called because it begins with a census of the Israelites. Slang number one and number two for "urination" and "defecation" attested from 1902. Number cruncher is 1966, of machines; 1971, of persons. To get or have (someone's) number "have someone figured out" is attested from 1853. The numbers "illegal lottery" is from 1897, American English.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.