number 2 pencil

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number 2 pencil (plural number 2 pencils)

  1. (US) A pencil which produces a specific shade of dark gray. One can usually identify a number 2 pencil by looking for the number "2" conspicuously emblazoned on the pencil. Often required for test-taking and the completion of official forms.
    • 1990, Allender Crabb, Lawrence J. Crabb, Larry Crabb, Dan B. Allender, Encouragement: The Key to Caring, page 30
      I snapped to rigid attention when the teacher barked, "Clear your desks, get your number two pencils out, and get ready for your exam." Exam! What exam?
    • 2003, Trey Ellis, Platitudes: & the New Black Aesthetic, page 64
      You shall not, I repeat, not, touch them with your finely sharpened number-two pencils or any other marking instrument until you are explicitly told to do so.
    • 2006, Barry H. Weinberg, The Resolution of Election Disputes: Legal Principles That Control Election, page 128
      In using this system, absentee voters were instructed to mark their ballots with number two pencils. The optical scanner rejected ballots which were marked with instruments other than number two pencils.
    • 2006, Barbara Slater Stern, curriculum and teaching dialogue: V. 8, page 33
      "Mrs. Landry, I forgot to bring my number two pencils! Does that mean I flunk this test?" Big tears filled Joey's eyes.
  2. (US) A standard, ordinary pencil; one which is not colored or mechanical or in any other way unusual.
    • 1997, Jared Diamond, "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies", page 1
      How would that yellow number 2 pencil look as an ornament, inserted through a pierced ear-lobe or nasal septum?
    • 2002, Irv Furman, "Amazing Irv's Handbook of Everyday Magic", p78
      Stand back as we attempt to capture and charm the most poisonous lead on your desk — the diamondback Number 2 pencil!
    • 2004, Kate White, "'Til Death Do Us Part", p28
      I do the actual writing on my computer, of course, but I find that jotting down notes with a number 2 pencil gets my brain working in a new way, helps me see the facts from a different angle.