I. number num‧ber 1 [ˈnʌmbə ǁ -bər] noun
1. [countable] a series of numbers used to identify someone or something:

• He checked the number on the file.

• Your account number is the last set of numbers on the bottom of your cheque.

• Please quote your credit card number in all correspondence.

— see also telephone number
ˌbank identifiˈcation ˌnumber [countable] BANKING
a set of numbers found on a cheque book, bank card, or bank letter, showing which branch (= office) of a bank it relates to; = sort code
ˈbox ˌnumber also ˈpost office box ˌnumber [countable]
an address used by a firm for receiving letters at a post office instead of its own address:

• It is usually best to avoid box numbers in advertisements as they tend to put people off replying.

ˈPIN ˌnumber [countable] BANKING
personal identification number; a secret number given to you by your bank that you use when getting money from a cash machine with a card; = PIN:

• Never tell anyone your PIN number.

ˈserial ˌnumber [countable] MANUFACTURING
a number used on things that are produced in large quantities, making it possible to identify each one:

• All of our guns have a unique serial number.

2. numbers [plural] how many people there are in a particular situation, activity etc:

• Airline passenger numbers in America have more than doubled.

• a 25 percent increase in staff numbers

3. numbers [plural] ACCOUNTING STATISTICS figures or amounts, for example those in a company's accounts or in statistics:

• The numbers told the story: the marketing strategy was a success.

• If you run the numbers (= do the necessary calculations ) , there is no way you can make money renting the space at $30 a square foot.

4. [singular] the total amount of something:
serial number of

• The number of companies created in the first half of this year was 3.1% lower than last year.

5. number one/​two etc informal the most important person or thing, the second most important etc in an organization or group:

• Mr Steed is number two to the group chief executive.

— see also DUNS number, opposite number
  [m0] II. number number 2 verb [transitive]
1. to be a particular amount or quantity:

• At that time, its employees numbered nearly 4,000.

• Sales numbered 8.1% fewer than a year before.

2. to give a number to things that are part of a set or list:

• Each doll is individually numbered and comes with a certificate of authenticity.

* * *

number UK US /ˈnʌmbər/ noun (ABBREVIATION No.)
[C] a set of numbers that marks a particular person or thing as separate from others of the same type: account/invoice/order number »

Include your account number and the name of the fund in which you want to invest.

contact/telephone/mobile number »

Please leave a contact number.


a credit card/registration/identification number

[C] an amount of people or things: the number of sth »

The number of employees taking legal action over work-related disease is increasing.

a growing/increasing/declining number »

Regulators are seeing a growing number of stock frauds directed at small investors.

the maximum/minimum/total number »

The total number of people in employment has increased by more than 234,000 (16.1%).


a large/record number


a small/limited number

a number of things/reasons/people, etc. — Cf. a number of things/reasons/people, etc.
numbers — Cf. numbers
make the numbers — Cf. make the numbers
run the numbers — Cf. run the numbers
Compare FIGURE(Cf. ↑figure)
See also BANK IDENTIFICATION NUMBER(Cf. ↑bank identification number), BOX NUMBER(Cf. ↑box number), DUNS NUMBER(Cf. ↑DUNS number), OPPOSITE NUMBER(Cf. ↑opposite number), PIN(Cf. ↑PIN), ROUTING NUMBER(Cf. ↑routing number), SERIAL NUMBER(Cf. ↑serial number), SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER(Cf. ↑Social Security Number)
number UK US /ˈnʌmbər/ verb
[T] to give something a number in a series: »

Documents filed under the Act must be numbered.

[I or T] if people or things number 100, 1 million, etc., there are that number of them: »

At its peak, the workforce involved in building the new airport terminal numbered 50,000.

number in the hundreds/thousands/millions, etc. »

Their fan base numbers in the tens of millions worldwide.

Financial and business terms. 2012.

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