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From Middle English arsmetike, from Old French arismetique, from Latin arithmetica, from Ancient Greek ἀριθμητική (arithmētikḗ, counting) (τέχνη (tékhnē, art)), from ἀριθμός (arithmós, number). Used in English since 13th century.


  • (noun): enPR: ərĭth'mətĭk, IPA(key): /əˈɹɪθmətɪk/
  • (adjective): enPR: ărĭthmĕ'tĭk, IPA(key): /æɹɪθˈmɛtɪk/
  • (file)


arithmetic (usually uncountable, plural arithmetics)

  1. The mathematics of numbers (integers, rational numbers, real numbers, or complex numbers) under the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
    • 2013 July 20, “Welcome to the plastisphere”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8845:
      [The researchers] noticed many of their pieces of [plastic marine] debris sported surface pits around two microns across. [] Closer examination showed that some of these pits did, indeed, contain bacteria, and that in several cases these bacteria were dividing and thus, by the perverse arithmetic of biological terminology, multiplying.


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arithmetic (not comparable)

  1. (mathematics) Of, relating to, or using arithmetic; arithmetical.
    arithmetic geometry
    • 2008, Emmanuel Kowalski, The large sieve and its applications: arithmetic geometry, random ..., page 189:
      Moreover, the latest work of Katz, involving the so-called 'Larsen alternative', provides new criteria, of a very arithmetic nature, to (almost) determine the rational monodromy group
  2. (arithmetic) Of a progression, mean, etc, computed solely using addition.
    arithmetic progression

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