Learn English – What do you call each individual component of a number: a “digit”, a “figure”, or “place”


What are the individual 0, 1, 2, "letters" etc. in numbers called? I know the word "digits", I've seen "n-figure salary", and Google translation (from German "Stellen"), when used in a sentence, yields "places" ("How many places does this number have?"). And exactly when is the English cognate of our German word "Ziffer", "cypher", used? Because "Ziffer" really means "digit" in English, I think.

Best Answer

"Digit" refers to the characters used to write out a number. "Places" refers to the number and location of digits needed to write out the number. "n-figure" is simply a count of the digits needed ignoring any fractional part.

1,234 - Uses digits 1, 2, 3 and 4; has four places; is a 4-figure number

100,111 - Uses digits 0 and 1; has 6 places; is a 6-figure number

905.001 - Uses digits 0, 1, 5 and 9; has 6 places; is a 3-figure number

As a reminder: , is used to split thousands, millions and so on. . is used to split of the decimal places. The term "places" is often used to specify only the decimal places:

This is accurate to 3 decimal places.

This phrasing can be reworded as:

This is accurate to the 1/1,000th place.