What is a Digit in Math? - Definition & Examples

Instructor: Mark Boster
We use ten digits in the way we count. Sometimes we use one digit for to represent a number and sometimes we use more. In this lesson, you'll learn how many digits are in any given numeral, and recognize a digit when you see it. You will also begin learning about place value.

Symbols

You already know what this means:

Golden Arches

And you know this symbol:

Dollar Sign

You also know what this is: 7.

That 7 is a special kind of symbol. It's called a digit. We have ten digits we use to make up all numerals. A numeral is a number written down. These digits are 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,and 9. That's it! You can make any numeral you want out of those ten digits.

Just like a red light means 'stop', a 7 means 'seven'. It's a single symbol that represents a numeral. Yes, just like this is a symbol to stop.

stop

You know that this is the number two.

apples

The numeral is 2, because there are two apples. You know there are five fingers on a hand - if you count the thumb! What numeral would that be? How about 5? Ding ding ding... That's right.

So What is a Number?

A number is the amount you are thinking, or the amount you see, like the apples or fingers above. As soon as you write it down it becomes a numeral. So...these are numerals: five, 5.

Counting Digits

This is the numeral: 51. These are the digits in that numeral: 5 and 1. The numeral has two digits because two symbols, or digits, make up the numeral 51. What about this numeral? 452. This numeral has 3 digits: 4, 5, and 2.

The numeral 15 has two digits; the two digits are 1 and 5.

This numeral has three digits: 102, a one (1), a zero (0), and a two (2). OK, lets try this one: 1595. I counted four: 1, 5, 9, and 5.

How about 150? Hmm... Three? 1, 5, and 0.

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