The Abbreviation for Number: What Is It and How Is It Used?

Are you curious about the right way to abbreviate the word number? We’ll be explaining the meaning of the word, along with the common abbreviations for number. You’ll also learn about the synonyms and history of the word. Finally, we’ll be sharing some examples of the word and abbreviation in context. 

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the standard abbreviations for number:

  • № or Nº—This is most commonly used as an abbreviation for the French word numéro, and it is often written with a superscript O.
  • No.—This is the most common abbreviation of the word number.
  • #—This is a number sign, sometimes called a hash or a pound sign. For example, #2 pencil would be read aloud as “number two pencil,” especially in North America.


The plural form of the abbreviation can be written as Nos or Nos. The first letter, for the singular (No.) and the plural abbreviation (Nos.), can be written with either lowercase or uppercase letters. This abbreviation typically contains a full stop or period after the last letter. 

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What Does Number Mean?

According to, the definition of number is:

Number [nuhm-ber]


●      a numeral or group of numerals.

●      the sum, total, count, or aggregate of a collection of units, or the like:

A number of people were hurt in the accident. The number of homeless children in the city has risen alarmingly.

verb (used with object)

●      to mark with or distinguish by numbers:

Number each of the definitions.

●      to amount to or comprise in number; total:

The manuscript already numbers 425 pages

verb (used without object)

●      to make a total; reach an amount:

Casualties numbered in the thousands.

●      to be numbered or included (usually followed by among or with):

Several eminent scientists number among his friends.

Synonyms for Number

The History of the Word

According to The Online Etymology Dictionary, both the noun and the verb forms of the English word number date back to 1300. As a verb, the word meant “to count,” and it derived from the Old French verb nombrer. 

As a noun, the meaning “sum, aggregate of a collection” came to English by way of the Old French nombre. Farther back, the Proto-Indo-European root nem, meaning “assign, allot; take,” evolved into the Latin word numerus (“a number, quantity”). The abbreviation № comes from the Latin word numero.

When To Use This Abbreviation

Abbreviating the word number is common practice in the English language. The abbreviation can be used in lists, receipts, addresses, forms, etc.

For example:

Apt. No. 4
231 Lancaster Street
Wellington, FL 33414

One also finds the abbreviations in headlines and titles where space is limited. It can be used in casual writing or shorthand, as well. 

For example:

Pull Nos. 34-53 for inspection.

Examples of the Word and Abbreviation in Context

“In the last three weeks, the number of lab-confirmed cases has soared from about 50 in China to more than 17,000 in at least 23 countries; there have been more than 360 deaths.”
—The New York Times

“Originally released in 1994 on Carey’s album Merry Christmas, the modern classic reached the Hot 100’s top 10 at last in December 2017 and rose to its prior No. 3 high last holiday season (and matched the rank last week).”

“Arizona is now the fifth-highest ranked Pac-12 team in the AP Top 25, trailing No. 3 Oregon, No. 6 Stanford, No. 9 Oregon State and No. 10 UCLA.”

“The number of Dutch people returning from the United Kingdom was only slightly lower.”
—NL Times​​​