Sayings of the Day

“I’ll give you the figures you asked for in round numbers,” she said.

Ever read an expression like this in a story of hear it on a soap opera? When you did, did you wonder what she was talking about?

What’s a round number? Could it be a 9 or a 6 because 9 and 6 have curves at the top and bottom? If they’re round for that reason, does that mean that 1 and 5 are not round?

Actually, a round number is a formal mathematical  entity defined as the product of a considerable number of small factors compared with its neighbouring numbers.

In practical situations, such as in everyday commerce, a round number is an incorrect number that’s close to a correct one. It’s used instead because it’s a simpler number to deal with or for other reasons.

For example, 2.3+4.4+5.1=11.8 is so close to 12 it often can be rounded up to 12 without a problem. If we’re talking cents, 11.8 cents is so close to 12 cents it might as well be 12 cents. You wouldn’t be able to find an 11.8 cent piece if you went looking for it.

Informally, a round number is an integer that ends in one or more zeroes, such as 1,000 or 1,500,000.

People have a variety of reasons to roll-over an odd number to make it round. We did this at the beginning of the year 2000, even though the official correct millennium change didn’t occur until 2001. To most of us, the 1 in 2001 seemed like an oddball.

Satisfied with round numbers? Next do you want to investigate the saying, “Two’s company, three’s a crowd?” Are you wondering if two and three are round numbers?

Explore sayings like these at the feature called Saying Of The Day. As the saying goes, There’s a new one every day.

2011, Decision Consulting, Inc. (DCI). All rights reserved. All copies must include this copyright statement.

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