# Numeric vs. Numerical: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on October 3, 2023
"Numeric" refers to a form or system using numbers, while "Numerical" pertains to the abstract concept or quality of being expressed in numbers.

## Key Differences

The term "Numeric" often refers specifically to a representation or system that uses numbers. When something is described as "Numeric," it emphasizes the tangible, numeral form or symbol. For example, a numeric keypad on a phone has buttons represented by numbers. In contrast, "Numerical" tends to have a broader implication, often relating to the abstract concept or quality of being quantified or expressed in numbers. It doesn't always imply the presence of visible numbers but can refer to an inherent numerical nature.
In programming and computing, "Numeric" often alludes to data types or fields that can hold data represented by numbers, whereas "Numerical" might be used to describe methods, algorithms, or problems relating to numbers. For example, numerical analysis deals with the study and development of algorithms for problems involving continuous mathematics.
From another standpoint, both "Numeric" and "Numerical" can sometimes be used interchangeably, but nuances exist. For instance, when referring to order, a "numeric order" might suggest an arrangement based on the actual numeral symbols (e.g., 1, 2, 3), while a "numerical order" could simply mean an order based on quantity or value.
The distinction, while subtle, can be essential in contexts where precision of language matters. While "Numeric" emphasizes form, system, or representation, "Numerical" leans more toward the idea or quality of number-based quantification, whether visible or inherent.

## Comparison Chart

### Primary Focus

Representation or system using numbers
Abstract concept or quality of being in numbers

### Usage in Computing

Data types or fields
Methods, algorithms, or problems

### Implication of Order

Arrangement based on numeral symbols
Order based on quantity or value

### Emphasis

Form, system, or representation
Idea or quality of quantification

### Interchangeability

Sometimes, but with a focus on tangible representation

## Numeric and Numerical Definitions

#### Numeric

Designating a data type or field in computing.
The database column is set to a Numeric type.

#### Numerical

Expressing a number or quantity.
The Numerical value indicates a significant increase.

#### Numeric

Being a numeral.
There's a Numeric error in the report.

#### Numerical

Being quantified or expressed in terms of numbers.
The Numerical representation makes it easier to understand.

#### Numeric

Relating to arithmetic.
She excels in Numeric operations.

#### Numerical

Pertaining to number-based order or sequence.
Items are arranged in a Numerical order.

#### Numeric

Referring to a system or representation using numbers.
The remote has a Numeric keypad.

#### Numerical

Concerning the study or use of numbers.
His work involves complex Numerical methods.

#### Numeric

A number or numeral.

#### Numerical

Relating to numbers, especially mathematics.
We performed a Numerical analysis of the data.

#### Numeric

Variant of numerical.

#### Numerical

Of or relating to a number or series of numbers
Numerical order.

#### Numeric

Of or relating to numbers, especially the characters 0 to 9.

#### Numerical

Designating number or a number
A numerical symbol.

#### Numeric

(obsolete) the same; identical

#### Numerical

Expressed in or counted by numbers
Numerical strength.

#### Numeric

(mathematics) Any number, proper or improper fraction, or incommensurable ratio.

#### Numerical

Of or pertaining to numbers

#### Numeric

Belonging to number; denoting number; consisting in numbers; expressed by numbers, and not letters; as, numerical characters; a numerical equation; a numerical statement.

#### Numerical

(obsolete) The same in number; hence, identically the same; identical.

#### Numeric

The same in number; hence, identically the same; identical; as, the same numerical body.
Would to God that all my fellow brethren, which with me bemoan the loss of their books, . . . might rejoice for the recovery thereof, though not the same numerical volumes.

#### Numerical

Measured or expressed in numbers;
Numerical value
The numerical superiority of the enemy

#### Numeric

Relating to or having ability to think in or work with numbers; as, tests for rating numerical aptitude. Contrasted with verbal.

#### Numerical

Of or relating to or denoting numbers;
Numerical analysis

#### Numeric

Any number, proper or improper fraction, or incommensurable ratio. The term also includes any imaginary expression like m + n?-1, where m and n are real numerics.

#### Numerical

Designated by or expressed in numbers;
Numerical symbols
A very simple numeric code
Numerical equations

#### Numeric

Of or relating to or denoting numbers;
Numerical analysis

#### Numerical

Relating to or having ability to think in or work with numbers;
Tests for rating numerical aptitude
A mathematical whiz

#### Numeric

Measured or expressed in numbers;
Numerical value
The numerical superiority of the enemy

#### Numeric

Designated by or expressed in numbers;
Numerical symbols
A very simple numeric code
Numerical equations

#### Numeric

Pertaining to numbers as symbols.
The password requires at least one Numeric character.

## FAQs

#### Are "Numeric" and "Numerical" synonymous?

They are closely related but have nuanced differences in emphasis and usage.

#### What does "Numerical analysis" mean?

"Numerical analysis" deals with algorithms for problems involving continuous mathematics.

#### What is a "Numerical method"?

It refers to techniques to solve mathematical problems using numbers.

#### Which term emphasizes number symbols?

"Numeric" emphasizes number symbols or representations.

#### Is "Numerical" broader in scope than "Numeric"?

Generally, "Numerical" has a broader implication related to the concept of numbers.

#### When should I use "Numeric" in computing?

Use "Numeric" when referring to data types or fields that store number data.

#### Is every "Numeric" representation also "Numerical"?

Generally, yes, as both pertain to numbers, but their emphasis differs.

#### Are there contexts where they aren't interchangeable?

Yes, especially in specialized fields like computing or mathematics.

#### Does "Numerical" always imply visible numbers?

Not always. It can refer to an inherent numerical nature or quality.

#### Can "Numeric" refer to an order?

Yes, "Numeric order" suggests arrangement based on numeral symbols.

#### Do "Numeric" and "Numerical" have different origins?

Both originate from Latin "numericus," but their modern uses have nuanced differences.

#### Which term is older?

Both have roots in ancient language, but their current English uses evolved over time.

#### Can a "Numerical value" be non-numeric?

No, a "Numerical value" inherently has a numeric representation.

#### Are all "Numeric" data types solely for integers?

No, they can also represent floating-point numbers or other number types.

#### Can text be "Numeric"?

If the text represents numbers (e.g., "123"), then yes.

#### Can a "Numerical problem" be non-mathematical?

Typically, a "Numerical problem" involves mathematical or number-based challenges.

#### Do both terms have adverb forms?

Yes, "Numerically" is the adverb form for both.

#### Can something be "Numerical" but not directly related to visible numbers?

Yes, "Numerical" can allude to an inherent or abstract number-based concept or quality.

#### How is "Numerical" used in academic settings?

It often pertains to methods, studies, or analyses based on numbers.

#### In programming, which is more common?

"Numeric" is often used for data types, while "Numerical" for methods or problems.