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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Collins
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
Apparently the author is unfamiliar with the concept of the appropriate number
  of significant figures.
The agreement applies to many significant figures-the kind of accuracy that
  previously one had only in astronomy.
Both are significant figures within the populist tea-party movement.
We fight to the pain over whether to round to two or three significant figures
  as freshmen.
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