Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Idioms, Wikipedia.


book of the Bible, fourth of the five books of the Law (the Pentateuch or Torah) ascribed by tradition to Moses. Numbers begins at Sinai and ends in Moab on the eve of the Hebrews' entry into Palestine. It continues Exodus' narrative of the journey of the Jews from Egypt to the Promised Land. (Leviticus does not advance the story.) Kadesh is the scene of a number of revolts against Moses' authority. Nevertheless, out of dissension comes a greater sense of solidarity and unity. The geographical detail of the journey is bare, and only the main lines can be discerned. The book contains incidental legislation. Its events include two censuses, whence the title; the sending of spies to reconnoiter the Promised Land; the emergence of Joshua and Caleb as leaders; the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; the curse of Balaam turned into a blessing; and the apostasy at Shittim in which Phinehas played an exemplary role.


See G. W. Coats, Rebellion in the Wilderness (1968); P. Budd, Numbers (1984). See also bibliography under Old TestamentOld Testament,
Christian name for the Hebrew Bible, which serves as the first division of the Christian Bible (see New Testament). The designations "Old" and "New" seem to have been adopted after c.A.D.
..... Click the link for more information.

What does it mean when you dream about numbers?

Numbers pervade our experience of the world, so they can have a complex range of different meanings. The number one, for example, can represent everything from oneness to aloneness. Two can represent both togetherness and opposition. A dream about numbers that does not emphasize a particular number can be alluding to the meaning of any one of a number of different idioms: “your number is up,” “a numbers game,” “crunching numbers,” or “to have someone’s number.” (See also Seven, Six, Sixteen).


(Scientific computation) Output from a computation that may not be significant but at least indicates that the program is running. Numbers may be used to placate management, grant sponsors, etc. "Making numbers" means running a program because output - any output, not necessarily meaningful output - is needed as a demonstration of progress.

See pretty pictures, math-out, social science number.


In a computer, numbers can be stored in several forms. Although they are all coded as binary digits (bits), BCD and packed decimal numbers retain the decimal relationship of a number, whereas fixed and floating point do not.

Binary Coded Decimal (BCD)

BCD encodes each decimal digit in a single byte. The number 7100 would take four bytes. A variation, called "packed decimal," encodes two digits in one byte.

Binary Fixed Point

This method converts the entire decimal number into a binary number, placing it in a fixed unit of storage. The number 7100 would require at least two bytes. Binary numbers are calculated faster than decimal (BCD) numbers.

Bytes  Bits   Values
        1      8      0 to 255
        2      16     0 to 65,535
        4      32     0 to 4,294,967,295

Binary Floating Point

Floating point allows very small fractions and very large numbers to be maintained and calculated quickly. Both the mantissa (significant digits) and the exponent (power to which the base is raised) are converted into binary numbers. See floating point.

References in classic literature ?
This promising beginning was soon overcast with a cloud of adversity; for upon the tenth day of October, the rear of our company was attacked by a number of Indians, who killed six, and wounded one man.
It is generally found possible -- by a little artificial compression or expansion on the part of the State physicians -- to make some of the more intelligent leaders of a rebellion perfectly Regular, and to admit them at once into the privileged classes; a much larger number, who are still below the standard, allured by the prospect of being ultimately ennobled, are induced to enter the State Hospitals, where they are kept in honourable confinement for life; one or two alone of the more obstinate, foolish, and hopelessly irregular are led to execution.
And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate.
There will also great danger arise from the manner of electing the senate, when those who are elected themselves are afterwards to elect others; for by this means, if a certain number choose to combine together, though not very considerable, the election will always fall according to their pleasure.
The manager, naturally zealous in defence of the hotel, was a little hurt at the implied reflection cast on Number Fourteen.
The amount of food for each species of course gives the extreme limit to which each can increase; but very frequently it is not the obtaining food, but the serving as prey to other animals, which determines the average numbers of a species.
The numbers indeed of the lion, panther, and hyaena, and the multitude of birds of prey, plainly speak of the abundance of the smaller quadrupeds: one evening seven lions were counted at the same time prowling round Dr.
They would answer, as I should conceive, that they were speaking of those numbers which can only be realised in thought.
Arthur Clennam came to a squeezed house, with a ramshackle bowed front, little dingy windows, and a little dark area like a damp waistcoat-pocket, which he found to be number twenty-four, Mews Street, Grosvenor Square.
Here -- it's the number of a room -- in a tavern, you know
Seen by the dim light of the dips, their number to me appeared countless, though not in reality exceeding eighty; they were uniformly dressed in brown stuff frocks of quaint fashion, and long holland pinafores.
This idea admits not of precise demonstration, because there is no rule by which we can measure the momentum of civil power necessary to the government of any given number of individuals; but when we consider that the island of Britain, nearly commensurate with each of the supposed confederacies, contains about eight millions of people, and when we reflect upon the degree of authority required to direct the passions of so large a society to the public good, we shall see no reason to doubt that the like portion of power would be sufficient to perform the same task in a society far more numerous.