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significant digits

plural noun, Mathematics
1.
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 of significant digits
1920-1925
1920-25
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Contemporary definitions for significant digit
noun

any digit of a number that is known with certainty and that has a distinct numerical meaning, but not a zero at the beginning or end that is a placeholder; also called signficant figure

Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
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significant digit in Science
significant digits
  (sĭg-nĭf'ĭ-kənt)   
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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