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[noun uh-rith-muh-tik; adjective ar-ith-met-ik] /noun əˈrɪθ mə tɪk; adjective ˌær ɪθˈmɛt ɪk/
the method or process of computation with figures: the most elementary branch of mathematics.
Also called higher arithmetic, theoretical arithmetic. the theory of numbers; the study of the divisibility of whole numbers, the remainders after division, etc.
a book on this subject.
adjective, arithmetic
Also, arithmetical. of or relating to arithmetic.
Origin of arithmetic
1200-50; < Latin arithmētica, feminine singular of arithmēticus < Greek arithmētikḗ (téchnē) (art, skill) of numbers, equivalent to arithmé(ein) to reckon + -t(o)- verbal adjective + -ikḗ -ic; replacing Middle English arsmet(r)ike < Old French arismetique < Medieval Latin arismētica, with s for Late Greek th
Related forms
arithmetically, adverb
nonarithmetic, adjective
nonarithmetical, adjective
nonarithmetically, adverb
unarithmetical, adjective
unarithmetically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for arithmetic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • However, just then her class in arithmetic was called, so that she had no more time to be puzzled.

    Understood Betsy Dorothy Canfield
  • She looked at the book, which looked exactly like Colburn's arithmetic.

    Five Mice in a Mouse-trap Laura E. Richards
  • He was afterwards removed to another, where he learned writing and arithmetic.

    Notable Voyagers W.H.G. Kingston and Henry Frith
  • Can we deny that a warrior should have a knowledge of arithmetic?

    The Republic Plato
  • He accordingly changed his first purpose, and sent Benjamin to a school for writing and arithmetic, kept by Mr. George Brownwell.

    The Life of Benjamin Franklin Samuel G. Goodrich
British Dictionary definitions for arithmetic


the branch of mathematics concerned with numerical calculations, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
one or more calculations involving numerical operations
knowledge of or skill in using arithmetic: his arithmetic is good
adjective (ˌærɪθˈmɛtɪk)
of, relating to, or using arithmetic
Derived Forms
arithmetically, adverb
arithmetician, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Latin arithmētica, from Greek arithmētikē, from arithmein to count, from arithmos number
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for arithmetic

mid-13c., arsmetike, from Old French arsmetique (12c.), from Latin arithmetica, from Greek arithmetike (tekhne) "(the) counting (art)," fem. of arithmetikos "of or for reckoning, arithmetical," from arithmos "number, counting, amount," from PIE root *re(i)- "to reason, count" (cf. Old English, Old High German rim "number;" Old Irish rim "number," dorimu "I count;" Latin ritus "religious custom;" see read).

Originally in English also arsmetrik, on folk etymology from Medieval Latin ars metrica; spelling corrected early 16c. Replaced native tælcræft, literally "tell-craft."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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arithmetic in Science
The mathematics of integers, rational numbers, real numbers, or complex numbers under the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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