# 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’.