Definition of number one in English:

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number one

Pronunciation: /ˈˌnəmbər ˈwən/


1A person or thing that is the best or the most important in an activity or area: businesses that were number one in their markets
More example sentences
  • Being number one was more important than winning titles.
  • Through all the years performing on stage Leviev kept on repeating his motto that it is not important to be number one but to sustain your position.
  • Els remembers the difference he saw in the world number one at the 2000 Presidents Cup compared to the 1998 match in Australia.
1.1A recording or other product in a particular category that has sold the most copies in a particular time period: an album featuring seventeen top movie themes and six number ones
More example sentences
  • The final of the souped-up talent contest is on Saturday, December 17, which gives the winner four days to get a single into the shops in time to make a claim on the Christmas number-one spot, assuming G4 or Westlife don't get there first.
  • Not every young person is going to get onto Popstars, or sell a number one record.
  • These three lines from one song from the current number one Hindi film soundtrack album (Kal Ho Naa Ho) in Mumbai say it all.
2Used in reference to oneself: you must look after number one
More example sentences
  • The fact that he treated me like a loyal puppy never bothered me much because I knew that I was always number one when it came to his heart, always one of the most important people in his life.
3Used euphemistically to refer to urine.
4The shortest men’s cropped haircut produced with electric hair clippers.
Example sentences
  • Nearly all the women had hair on the curly/frizzy/wavy continuum and nearly all the men had a number one / two haircut.
5A lieutenant junior grade in the navy or the coast guard.


1Most important or prevalent; foremost: a number-one priority coronary disease is the number-one killer of American men
More example sentences
  • ‘Our number-one priority was performance,’ says chief engineer Nobuaki Katayama.
  • Our number-one priority has been reducing the numbers of those at risk of internal sewer flooding and addressing the worst cases of external flooding.
  • Andy Brown, BSM roadshow manager, said: ‘Learning to drive is a number-one priority for most young people.’
1.1Best-selling: a number-one album
More example sentences
  • Riding the crest of this propaganda wave was the 1992 number-one best-selling book America: What Went Wrong by Donald Barlett and James Steele, one of the worst books of all time.
  • Despite their number-one album, Permission to Land, their dramatic stage style complete with catsuits and spaceships meant that no one could decide whether they were serious or a comedy act.
  • For the second week in a row now, Duff's greatest-hits collection is number-one album on the billboard chart, which is just out today.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: num·ber one

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