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significant digits

plural 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 of significant digits
1920-25 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for significant figure
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Ezekiel, whose characterizations of the false prophets are remarkably striking, uses about them a significant figure of speech.

  • God is the only significant figure, and human need may add the ciphers.

    Notes on the book of Exodus C. H. (Charles Henry) Mackintosh
  • Hannah West was one of those ciphers to which somebody else is always the significant figure.

  • God is the significant figure which gives value to the row of ciphers of which every life is without Him made up.

  • That Richard Strauss is the most significant figure in the musical world to-day seems to me too patent to admit of discussion.

significant figure in Science
significant digits
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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