There are 2 main definitions of count in English:

Share this entry

count 1

Pronunciation: /kaʊnt/


1 [with object] Determine the total number of (a collection of items): I started to count the stars I could see they counted up their change
More example sentences
  • The percentage of infected cells was determined by counting the total number infected and uninfected cells from 10 randomly selected microscopic fields.
  • When Krohn raised concerns over this lack of accountability, he was told that it would take too long to count the collection and distribution of all the money.
  • We collected fruits and counted the total number of flowers, fruits, and fully developed undamaged seeds from each plant.
add up, add together, find the sum of, sum up, reckon up, figure up, calculate, compute, enumerate, total, tally, add;
British  tot up
dated cast up
keep a tally of, keep a count of, keep a record of;
count up, count off, enumerate, tell, work out
1.1 [no object] Recite numbers in ascending order: hold the position as you count to five
More example sentences
  • Her eyes were squeezed shut, gritting her teeth so hard her jaw ached, attempting to count to ten in order to help calm herself down.
  • At one point I could calculate the calorie, fat and carbohydrate content of a fully laden buffet table in my head, even though I normally can't count to 20 without taking off my shoes.
  • He claimed to be able to count to 100 now, although I didn't put it to the test…
1.2 [no object] (count down) Recite or display numbers backwards to zero to indicate the time remaining before the launch of a rocket or the start of an operation: the floor manager pointed at the camera and counted down
More example sentences
  • Eliot and Snake end up thrown together by circumstances, struggling with each other on a hijacked plane while the red digital display on the bomb counts down to zero.
  • But the indicator that appeared on the display before me was counting down the distance between us at an alarming rate.
  • The Discovery space shuttle is counting down for blast-off, with NASA managers confident that last minute hitches would not delay today's launch.
1.3 [no object] (count down) Prepare for a significant event in the short time remaining before it: with more orders expected, the company is counting down to a bumper Christmas
More example sentences
  • And throughout the Christmas holidays, hundreds of children have been counting down to Saturday, January 3-when they were promised the results would arrive through their doors.
  • After lunch, it was back to counting down to the plenary session of the Assembly scheduled for 2 p.m. but my colleagues suggested that things were not quite right and that the session would be delayed.
  • Transition year students from Co. Carlow are counting down to the Christmas Fair to be held at the Arboretum Garden Centre on Sunday, November 23 at 1pm.
2 [with object] Take into account; include: the staff has shrunk to four, or five if you count the European director
More example sentences
  • Expect the form to be widely adopted, since its sponsors include the VHA Health Foundation, which counts major hospitals among its members.
  • His total payout will top $20 million, not counting his pension!
  • In these reports, only discharge events are counted and cannot account for individuals with repeat admissions.
include, take into account, take account of, take into consideration, allow for, incorporate
2.1Regard or be regarded as possessing a specified quality or fulfilling a specified role: she met some rebuffs from people she had counted as her friends [with object and complement]: I count myself fortunate to have known him [no object]: results which are consistent with all models cannot count as evidence for any of them
More example sentences
  • Buckley, a 24-year-old schoolteacher, has Irish ancestry so is not counted as an overseas player, meaning the club still have the quota option open to them.
  • 2004, therefore, has to be counted as a shocking disappointment.
  • Why should money transfers like these be counted as aid?
consider, think, feel, regard, look on as, view as, see as, hold to be, judge, adjudge, rate as, deem to be, account, esteem
3 [no object] Be significant: it did not matter what the audience thought—it was the critics that counted
More example sentences
  • Logically, in a ‘normal’ election, governance issues should count significantly.
  • Critics' views count only when they echo the public's, she says.
  • When it mattered, when it counted, you were there, and that's what should count.
matter, enter into consideration, be of consequence, be of account, be significant, signify, mean anything, mean a lot, amount to anything, rate, be important, be influential, carry weight, weigh, make an impression
informal cut any ice, have any clout
3.1(Of a factor) play a part in influencing opinion for or against someone or something: he hopes his sporting attitude will count in his favour
More example sentences
  • Two factors may count against him winning any more.
  • As he faces the long haul of an election year, one factor could still count against him in a big way - cash or, in his case, the lack of it.
  • Various factors counted against Halley when he was an applicant in 1691 for the Savilian astronomy professorship at Oxford University.
3.2 (count for) Be worth (a specified amount): he has no power base and his views count for little
More example sentences
  • The rest would have been welcome and I was disappointed that our views counted for little.
  • Nothing can be done ‘in our name’, because our views and interests count for nothing.
  • And when did the views of the people count for much with a Guardian columnist anyway?
3.3 (count towards) Be included in an assessment of (a final result or amount): reduced rate contributions do not count towards your pension
More example sentences
  • Only last Thursday the results of units counting towards final A-level results were released and Mr Glyn said Hannah had attained a range of As in those results.
  • These essays then counted towards their final results.
  • The marks I entered in my check list counted towards their final result.
4 [no object] (count on/upon) Rely on: whatever you’re doing, you can count on me
More example sentences
  • Seniors today are really counting on Social Security to take care of them in the time they need it.
  • Oak were counting upon the match going to the decider.
  • The family of five counts on Auntie Lau to help out.
rely on, depend on, place reliance on, lean on, bank on, trust, be sure of, trust in, place one's trust in, have (every) confidence in, believe in, put one's faith in, pin one's faith on, swear by, take for granted, take on trust, take as read


1An act of determining the total number of something: at the last count, fifteen applications were still outstanding the party’s only candidate was eliminated at the first count
More example sentences
  • Despite losing the election, Sinn Fein's Colm Burns was in buoyant mood, pointing to the fact he topped the polls at the first count.
  • I opened up every document, did a word count, and added it all up.
  • I got everyone into two rows and did a count to make sure everyone was all right.
calculation, enumeration, computation, reckoning, counting, telling, tally, tallying, totting up;
poll, census, listing, register
1.1The total determined by counting: there was a moderate increase in the white cell count in both patients
More example sentences
  • The film has a much higher body count than the first, but the deaths are a bit less chilling here.
  • But even as he was speaking, the body count was rising.
  • The main goal of the meeting was to pass an amendment to lower the quorum count to 200.
amount, number, tally, total, total number, sum total, grand total, full amount, aggregate, whole
2An act of reciting numbers in ascending order, up to the specified number: hold the position for a count of seven
More example sentences
  • I'm trying to get them to emote more, breaking the movements up into counts of four, seven or nine, depending on the music.
  • Dip cookies in hot chocolate to a quick count of five and eat!
  • On the count of five, everyone was to run toward the tree.
2.1An act of reciting numbers up to ten by the referee when a boxer is knocked down, the boxer being considered knocked out if still down when ten is reached: he dropped by the ropes to take a count of six on one knee
More example sentences
  • Without picking up the count, the referee ended the fight.
  • Referee Tony Perez reached five in the count and the bell couldn't save Ellis.
  • How many fighters could have gotten to their feet before the count of ten after catching Joe Frazier's full swing left hook flush on the jaw?
3A point for discussion or consideration: the programme remained vulnerable on a number of counts
More example sentences
  • He is wrong on every count and his paper is among the worst examples of pseudo-science I have ever come across.
  • Give the man a cigar - he's correct on both counts!
  • Such images are of interest on a number of counts.
3.1 Law A separate charge in an indictment: he pleaded guilty to five counts of murder
More example sentences
  • He was found guilty of nine counts of his indictment and sentenced to life imprisonment (his sentences, ranging from ten years to life run concurrently).
  • There are six counts on the indictment and each count represents a separate allegation against this Defendant.
  • Prosecutors formally indicted her on two counts of capital murder last week and her attorneys promptly gave notice they would enter an insanity defence.
4The measure of the fineness of a yarn expressed as the weight of a given length or the length of a given weight.
Example sentences
  • There are finer counts of yarn, so garments are less inclined to pill.
4.1A measure of the fineness of a woven fabric expressed as the number of warp or weft threads in a given length.
Example sentences
  • This is not true, but in the case of cotton grown in Egypt, the higher thread count means the fabric will be incredibly strong and will last for years and years.
  • Decorative sheets vary not just in pattern and color but also in terms of fabrics, thread count, and finish.
  • The weave or thread count of the towel has no significance in this case.



—— and counting

Used to say that a figure is constantly increasing: nearly seven years later (and counting), Hackett remains undefeated
More example sentences
  • Dr. Wilmshurst has spent about the same amount, and counting.
  • Today, they number over 10 million and counting.
  • She's still applying for jobs - 50 and counting.

beat the count

(Of a boxer who has been knocked down) get up before the referee counts to ten: although Hurst tried to beat the count, it was clear that he was unable to continue
More example sentences
  • It was all he needed, as Frazier was not going to beat the count.
  • Arthur looked as surprised as anyone when Kizza failed to beat the count of referee Howard Foster of Doncaster.
  • He beat the count, but as Scott landed a big right it became painfully obvious that Sheika was no longer able to continue because he simply could not defend himself anymore.

count one's blessings

Be grateful for what one has: when you find that many people are worse off than you are, you’ll learn to count your blessings
More example sentences
  • Reflecting on their many years together, Barbara and Charles said: ‘We've had our problems, but we've always counted our blessings, and we're very thankful we have got each other.’
  • A Denholme man was also counting his blessings after missing the smash by less than a minute.
  • Right now, though, they seem to be not get the worst of the storm and so they're counting their blessings, Kyra.

count the cost

Experience the adverse consequences of something, typically a foolish action.
Example sentences
  • A trust spokeswoman said: ‘Every year, the NHS counts the cost of unused wasted medicines.’
  • About 170,000 homes in Scotland are at risk of flooding, according to the Scottish Executive, and insurers are counting the cost of deteriorating weather patterns.
  • And when counting the cost of our excesses, let us not forget the unfortunate Mediterranean authorities who have to pick up the pieces when holidaying Brits lose all control.

count the days (or hours)

Be impatient for time to pass: they counted the days until they came home on leave
More example sentences
  • We've passed another month counting the days, have lived our lives in resigned routine waiting only for the weekend when we could be together again.
  • And Harry Potter fans, are you counting the hours until the release of the long-awaited sixth book in the series?
  • Things are looking good, I'm excited, and I'm counting the hours until I get to break the seal on the CD.

count something on the fingers of one hand

Used to emphasize the small number of a particular thing: you can count the exceptions on the fingers of one hand
More example sentences
  • Throughout the eighteen years of Conservative government, the total number of Cabinet ministers with children in the state system could be counted on the fingers of one hand.
  • The real favourites for the title can be counted on the fingers of one hand, and first on everyone's list, invariably, is Hewitt.
  • He said he could count such days on the fingers of one hand.

count the pennies

see penny.

count sheep

see sheep.

don't count your chickens before they're hatched

proverb Don’t be too confident in anticipating success or good fortune before it is certain: I wouldn’t count your chickens—I’ve agreed to sign the contract but that’s all I’ve agreed to
More example sentences
  • We are feeling positive but not counting any chickens.
  • I am reluctant to count any chickens before they're hatched, so I will make no predictions, but I will let you all know as soon as anything happens.
  • He is scheduled to be the next chairman of the council and, although he does not want to count his chickens before they are hatched, is rationalising his commitments.

keep count (or a count)

Take note of the number or amount of something: you can protect yourself by keeping a count of what you drink
More example sentences
  • Up in the sun-dappled stands, they kept count of the goals and counted down the minutes until the official celebrations could begin.
  • I haven't kept count, but my impression is that Steyn's predictions have panned out pretty regularly.
  • Don't know if anyone kept count but there must have been at least thirty people there, overcast weather notwithstanding.

lose count

Forget how many of something there are, especially because the number is so high: I’ve lost count of the hundreds of miles I’ve covered
More example sentences
  • Since then, he has traveled to Cuba so many times he says he has lost count.
  • Over the years, I have lost count of the schemes put out by the council to control the traffic on the A3 Robin Hood roundabout.
  • I've lost count of the restaurants he's opened, and I must say, most of them do him credit.

out (or North American also down) for the count

Boxing Defeated by being knocked to the ground and unable to rise within ten seconds.
Example sentences
  • He backed up a bit to allow himself some room, but Kahn pressed on, swinging in a flurry of combinations as he attempted to nail Aouri and knock him down for the count.
  • This was the first time Harmon had been knocked down let alone down for the count.
  • Mike Tyson was out for the count him in the fourth round at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky.
12.1Unconscious or soundly asleep.
Example sentences
  • Her feet kicked up and hit Sean backwards sending him into a tree knocking him out for the count.
  • She rammed into the back of the man whose head she had just covered, knocking him out for the count, coming to a halt in front of him, still on her feet as he fell.
  • As the in - flight movie, Legally Blonde, played mutely on aeroplane screens, Reid was given two more injections - to make sure he was out for the count.
unconscious, comatose, knocked out, inert, insensible, senseless, insensate, insentient;
anaesthetized, soundly asleep
informal out, out cold, zonked out, dead to the world, kayoed, KO'd
British informal spark out
rare soporose, soporous

take the count

Boxing Be knocked out.
Example sentences
  • Dalbir made a valiant attempt and pushing Diwakar onto the ropes executed a couple of solid blows, which had Diwakar taking the count.
  • Napapol got Arial Austria to take the count at 40 seconds of the 5th.
  • James has never been knocked out - stopped, but has never taken the count.

Phrasal verbs


count someone in

informal Include someone in an activity or the plans for it: if the project gets started, count me in
More example sentences
  • Well, if this is what it takes to get him to stop writing, count me in as one of his most febrile supporters.
  • If we can get them for that price or less, then count us in.
  • If anyone is taking up a collection to buy him some new records, count me in for quid.
include, involve, bring in, take in, admit, introduce, add, enter, incorporate;
take into account, take account of, take note of, allow for;
allow to participate, allow to take part, let someone in on something

count someone out

1Complete a count of ten seconds over a fallen boxer to indicate defeat: Jeffries landed a left hook to the jaw and Fitz was counted out
More example sentences
  • Etienne was knocked flat on his back in the middle of the ring and he lay there as referee Bill Clancy counted him out just 49 seconds into the scheduled 10-round fight.
  • There was a pinch of controversy over the way Abdulaev was counted out after suffering a knockdown at the hands of Clottey.
  • It was here that his dream was shattered as he was counted out by the referee.
2Not include someone in an activity: if this is a guessing game you can count me out
More example sentences
  • The Stars are losers so far this summer in the open market, but don't count them out when the season starts.
  • If not, count me out for the second X-Files movie, if such a thing ever happens.
  • As William James stated about Myers in a 1901 letter, he was aware of ‘how much psychologists as a rule have counted him out from their profession’.
exclude, omit, leave out, rule out, except, reject, drop, eliminate, cut out, keep out;
pass over, disregard, ignore
3(In children’s games) select a player for dismissal or a special role by using a counting rhyme.

count something out

1Take items one by one from a stock of something, especially money, keeping a note of how many one takes: opening the wallet I counted out 19 dollars
More example sentences
  • Rich people still get professional bankers, competent and dressed in wool, to count their money out to them.
  • Cashiers handing change to customers count the money out in English even to obviously monolingual older Navajos.
  • I raised my eyebrows at him as I began to take out the money and count it out.
2British Procure the adjournment of the House of Commons when fewer than 40 members are present.
Example sentences
  • It was expected that the House would be counted out at 9 o'clock.


Middle English (as a noun): from Old French counte (noun), counter (verb), from the verb computare 'calculate' (see compute).

  • The verb to count is from Latin computare ‘to calculate’, the root also of computer, account (Middle English), and recount (Late Middle English) ‘tell’ (which can also be used for both ‘narrate’ and ‘count’). Counters (Middle English) were originally used to help in counting; in the late 17th century the word came to be used for a surface across which goods were exchanged for money. The title of the count or foreign nobleman, corresponding to the English earl, is a completely different word, which was introduced by the Normans and comes from Latin comes ‘companion, overseer, attendant’. County (Middle English) is from the same root, and seems originally to have referred to the lands or territory of a count, or to a meeting held to discuss the business of the county. See also chicken, duke

Words that rhyme with count

account, amount, fount, miscount, mount, no-account, surmount

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: count

Share this entry

There are 2 main definitions of count in English:

Share this entry

count 2

Pronunciation: /kaʊnt/


A foreign nobleman whose rank corresponds to that of an earl.
Example sentences
  • They all sat in a row, ranged according to their rank - kings and princes and dukes and earls and counts and barons and knights.
  • Similarly, the authority of marquesses, dukes, earls, barons, counts, and other nobles had long existed side by side with royal and imperial authority.
  • The official guest list named at least 70 kings, queens, grand dukes, princes, counts and lesser nobles.



Example sentences
  • The Knight of the Wood's squire also believes that knight errants' squires receive governorships of islands and countships too.
  • Nevertheless, the distribution and control of offices, such as countships, abbacies, and bishoprics rather than the royal treasury became the main foci of the political rivalries and conflicts of the ninth and tenth centuries.
  • In the 11th century it became an independent countship, and from the 12th century its rulers were vassals of the Holy Roman Emperor and came to style themselves ‘princes’.


Late Middle English: from Old French conte, from Latin comes, comit- 'companion, overseer, attendant' (in late Latin 'person holding a state office'), from com- 'together with' + it- 'gone' (from the verb ire 'go').

  • The verb to count is from Latin computare ‘to calculate’, the root also of computer, account (Middle English), and recount (Late Middle English) ‘tell’ (which can also be used for both ‘narrate’ and ‘count’). Counters (Middle English) were originally used to help in counting; in the late 17th century the word came to be used for a surface across which goods were exchanged for money. The title of the count or foreign nobleman, corresponding to the English earl, is a completely different word, which was introduced by the Normans and comes from Latin comes ‘companion, overseer, attendant’. County (Middle English) is from the same root, and seems originally to have referred to the lands or territory of a count, or to a meeting held to discuss the business of the county. See also chicken, duke

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: count

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.