Meaning of “arithmetic” in the English Dictionary

"arithmetic" in British English

See all translations

arithmeticnoun [ U ]

uk /əˈrɪθ.mə.tɪk/ us /əˈrɪθ.mə.tɪk/

the part of mathematics that involves the adding and multiplying, etc. of numbers:

I've never been very good at arithmetic.
an arithmetic test

calculations involving adding and multiplying, etc. numbers:

I did some quick mental arithmetic and decided it was going to cost too much.
I can't figure out which of these is cheaper - could you do the arithmetic?

More examples

  • What does all that add up to? I'm afraid my mental arithmetic isn't very good.
  • These kids have had seven years in school and they can't even do some simple arithmetic!
  • She was taught reading, writing and arithmetic at the village school.
  • He tried to do his tax form but he couldn't work out all the arithmetic.
  • I couldn't work in a post office - there is too much arithmetic involved!
adjective uk /ˌær.ɪθˈmet.ɪ.kəl/ us /ˌer.ɪθˈmet̬.ɪ.kəl/ also arithmetic, uk /ˌær.ɪθˈmet.ɪk/ us

arithmetical problems
adverb uk /ˌær.ɪθˈmet.ɪ.kəl.i/ us /ˌer.ɪθˈmet̬.ɪ.kəl.i/

(Definition of “arithmetic” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"arithmetic" in American English

See all translations

arithmeticnoun [ U ]

us /əˈrɪθ·məˌtɪk/

mathematics the process of making calculations such as adding, multiplying, and dividing by using numbers, or the study of this

adjective /ˌeər·əθˈmet̬·ɪ·kəl, ˌær-/


an arithmetical operation/progression
adverb /ˌeər·əθˈmet̬·ɪk·li, ˌær-/


arithmetically equivalent numbers

(Definition of “arithmetic” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)