significant digits

noun Mathematics.
all the nonzero digits of a number and the zeros that are included between them or that are final zeros and signify accuracy: The significant digits of 0.01230 are 1, 2, 3, and the final 0, which signifies accuracy to five places.
Also called significant figures.


Origin:
1920–25

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
significant figures or esp (US) significant digits
 
pl n
1.  the figures of a number that express a magnitude to a specified degree of accuracy, rounding up or down the final figure: 3.141 59 to four significant figures is 3.142
2.  Compare decimal place the number of such figures: 3.142 has four significant figures
 
significant digits or esp (US) significant digits
 
pl n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
significant digits   (sĭg-nĭf'ĭ-kənt)  Pronunciation Key 
The digits in a decimal number that are warranted by the accuracy of the means of measurement. Significant digits are all the numbers beginning with the leftmost nonzero digit, or beginning with the first digit after the decimal point if there are no nonzero digits to the left of the decimal point, and extending to the right. For example, 302, 3.20, and 0.023 all have three significant digits.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Also, you double the number of significant digits after every iteration instead
  of getting only one new digit as in long division.
Remember to consider significant digits in your use of the answer.
Calculations shall be rounded off to the same number of significant digits as
  the previous step.
In all conversions, the number of significant digits retained should be such
  that accuracy is neither sacrificed nor exaggerated.
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