Definition of decimal in English:



  • 1Relating to or denoting a system of numbers and arithmetic based on the number ten, tenth parts, and powers of ten.

    ‘decimal arithmetic’
    • ‘A trio of Indian mathematicians struggled to slot this symbol into their developing decimal number system.’
    • ‘In each case, the single numbers, 0 and 1, are used to represent the usual numbers in our decimal system and our normal alphabet.’
    • ‘Topics considered include addition and subtraction of decimal numbers followed by multiplication and division of decimal numbers.’
    • ‘None of these results are hard to prove today (try them!) with our understanding of the decimal representation of numbers.’
    • ‘We work our numbers in a decimal system because we have ten fingers.’
    • ‘The advent of decimal arithmetic reduced the need for such tests.’
    • ‘If you wonder why we have not included the number in decimal form, then let me say that it contains about 150 times as many characters as this whole article on perfect numbers.’
    • ‘If you know the binary number system, then you understand that it is a place-value system like ordinary decimal numbers.’
    • ‘If you write pi down in decimal form, the numbers to the right of the never repeat in a pattern.’
    • ‘The Vedic mathematicians had developed the decimal system of tens, hundreds, thousands, etc. where the remainder from one column of numbers is carried over to the next.’
    • ‘One of my more distinct recollections of math class involves the decimal representation of rational numbers and the discovery of wonderful patterns among those digits.’
    • ‘However, rather than have to learn 10 symbols as we do to use our decimal numbers, the Babylonians only had to learn two symbols to produce their base 60 positional system.’
    • ‘The book, which went on to be widely copied and imitated, introduced the Hindu-Arabic place-valued decimal system and the use of Arabic numerals into Europe.’
    • ‘For example, to test whether a number written in decimal digits is divisible by 2, you need check only whether the last digit is even.’
    • ‘One significant idea which appears in the text concerns representation of numbers in the decimal notation.’
    • ‘To keep the structure of the argument clearly in view Wittgenstein uses a system of decimal numbering.’
    • ‘The number system which was used to express this numerical information was based on the decimal system and was both additive and multiplicative in nature.’
    • ‘The discovery of the binomial theorem for integer exponents by al-Karaji was a major factor in the development of numerical analysis based on the decimal system.’
    • ‘The only catch is that the formula works for hexadecimal or binary digits but not for decimal digits.’
    • ‘The LOG button on your calculator can be used to compute how long a number is, that is, how many decimal digits it has.’
    1. 1.1 Relating to or denoting a system of currency, weights and measures, or other units in which the smaller units are related to the principal units as powers of ten.
      ‘decimal coinage’
      • ‘It's certainly not the notes and coins that bother me as we would be able to retain the monarchs head, as have Spain, Netherlands and Belgium, because it's no different in those terms from when we converted to decimal currency.’
      • ‘Like the introduction of decimal currency, the advent of the Euro was an opportunity no level-headed business man or woman would miss.’
      • ‘In fact, the Government spent less money telling us all about decimal currency than we are now being given to sell this Budget.’
      • ‘Change (in the case of decimal currency, to something far simpler for calculation) can be more worrying than staying with the complicated.’
      • ‘Elaborated between 1790 and 1799, the decimal metric system of weights and measures was zealously promoted under Napoleon.’
      • ‘Just as the British press found an elderly lady who thought that decimal coinage would not catch on in Skye when it was introduced in 1971, so too have reports flooded in of refuseniks who regard the euro as the work of the devil.’
      • ‘In 1997, the rupiah was so devalued that they had to switch from the decimal system to base 20 to cut down on the zeroes used in everyday transactions.’
      • ‘The metric system is a system of measurement of decimal units based on the meter.’
      • ‘In UK we managed to change to decimal currency with vastly less upset than predicted.’
      • ‘However, the bank is also making preparations to take in as many of the 2.5 billion coins they have minted since the introduction of decimal currency in 1971.’
      • ‘The uniformity of administrative structures was reflected, later, in the imposition of a national, decimal system of weights, measures, and currency.’
      • ‘Even if your business cannot join the general changeover to decimal money for a while after Decimal Day - February 15-you still need to prepare now for the introduction of decimal currency.’
      • ‘Malta's decimal currency has the lira as its basic unit and one lira is equivalent to 100 cents.’
      • ‘This was the second issue of decimal coinage and the series continued during the reigns of King Rama VI, VII and VIII.’
      • ‘One of his last banking functions was to initiate the change to decimal currency.’
      • ‘But the decimal currency is still with us, even if the half-pence is gone and the remaining coins are a little smaller.’
      • ‘Coins from the earliest days of Australian settlement to modern decimal currency are displayed.’
      • ‘I remember - back in 1970-71-the huge level of opposition to changing our money to a decimal currency.’
      • ‘The change is simple compared to shifts such as Britain's adoption of decimal currency in 1971, as there is no complex conversion to be done.’
      • ‘At the time when New Zealand changed to decimal currency in the 1960s, one pound was equal to two dollars.’


  • 1A fraction whose denominator is a power of ten and whose numerator is expressed by figures placed to the right of a decimal point.

    ‘write these decimals as vulgar fractions’
    • ‘After attendance, she asked everyone for our homework assignment, which was multiplying decimals.’
    • ‘We've operated now with decimals for a couple of years.’
    • ‘Students eventually went on to work on exercises where fractions, decimals and percentages were used interchangeably.’
    • ‘Expressed in decimals, this fraction has the value 0.123456790, with these digits endlessly repeated in the same order.’
    • ‘How do you convert decimals and percentages to fractions?’
    • ‘You can't divide this number evenly without using fractions or decimals.’
    • ‘Basic means a level that really does not exceed primary school: fractions, decimals, percentages and ratios.’
    • ‘The Mathematics Computation subtest assesses skills in computing with whole numbers, fractions, mixed numbers, decimals, and algebraic equations.’
    • ‘The math course consists of five subject areas: understanding numbers, using whole numbers, using decimals, using fractions and percents, and working with data.’
    • ‘We can use arithmetics with different bases, fractions, decimals, logarithms, powers, or simply words.’
    • ‘All percentages are given without any decimals.’
    • ‘Converted to decimals this is 0.0087268 which is correct to 6 decimal places, the answer to 7 decimal places being 0.0087265.’
    • ‘Betfair quote all their prices as decimals rather than traditional fractional odds.’
    • ‘They should also be able to understand basic maths and geometry, including fractions, decimals, multiplication and division.’
    • ‘Although he did not invent decimals (they had been used by the Arabs and the Chinese long before Stevin's time) he did introduce their use in mathematics in Europe.’
    • ‘Without decimals, Europe would have remained trapped in the cumbrous Roman system of numeration.’
    • ‘Irrational numbers are numbers that can be written as decimals but not as fractions.’
    • ‘Without an accurate chart, the precise latitude and longitude, often to three decimals provided by the GPS, is just a set of numbers.’
    • ‘Pricing stocks in decimals should improve liquidity and execution quality.’
    • ‘From being tagged a failure, a boy who could not even produce a straight line on paper or understand decimals, I trusted in words, and I wrote my first poems.’
    1. 1.1mass noun The system of decimal numerical notation.
      ‘the computer converts the initial data from decimal to binary’
      • ‘The easiest half is to convert from binary to decimal.’
      • ‘The same must well have been true of changing our monetary system to decimal.’
      • ‘Working on networks, I find there's always a need to convert between decimal, hexadecimal, octal and binary.’
      • ‘Though the entries of the table are in decimal, notation along the rows and columns is in hexadecimal.’
      • ‘About the only thing this calculator lacks is the ability to switch from decimal to hex to octal to binary.’
      • ‘Walton has also noticed that the total of the durations of the kingdoms and the total of the ages of the patriarchs are numerically related and are equivalent if the number base of the Sumerian list is changed from sexagesimal to decimal.’
      • ‘And even though U.S. currency is decimal and therefore metric, we don't think of it that way.’
      • ‘IP addresses are usually written as four sets of numbers (known as dotted decimal, or dotted quad notation), each having a value between 0 and 255.’
      • ‘In this case the representation is exact, in binary as well as in decimal (the binary significand is 0.11).’
      • ‘In addition to binary and decimal, computers can also speak in octal and hex.’


Early 17th century: from modern Latin decimalis (adjective), from Latin decimus ‘tenth’.