# digit

## Definitions

### General Science

### Computing

- noun a symbol or character that represents an integer that is smaller than the radix of the number base used

### Economics

- Used in indicating the extent of
__disaggregation__of data within a classification system. For example, 3-digit trade data, categorized by 3-digit numbers, are more aggregated than 6-digit data: many more and hence smaller groups of goods can be categorized with 6-digit numbers.

### Electronics

- A
__symbol__used to represent a__unit__within a__numbering system__. In the__decimal system__, the digits are 0 through 9, while in the__binary system__they are 0 and 1. For example, the number 2004 has four digits. The number of possible digits for any given numbering system is equal to the radix, or base, of the particular system.

## Origin & History of “digit”

*Digit*was borrowed

__from__Latin

*digitus*.

__this__meant ‘finger or toe’, but its underlying etymological

__sense__is probably ‘pointer’; it appears to

__come__from an Indo-European base *

*deik*-,

__which__

__also__produced Latin

*dicere*‘say’ (originally ‘point out’), Greek

*deiknúnai*‘show’, Sanskrit

*diç*- ‘show’, and possibly

__English__

*toe*. The word was used in classical times for a measure of length, a ‘finger’s breadth’, but the mathematical sense ‘any of the numbers from 0 to 9’ (originally as counted on the fingers) is a later development.

*Digitalis*(17

^{th}c.), the scientific

__name__of the ‘foxglove’, is a

__modern__Latin use of the Latin adjective

*digitālis*‘of the finger’,

__perhaps__in allusion to the foxglove’s German name

*fingerhut*‘thimble’, literally ‘finger-hat’.