Origin: F. Quantite, L. Quantitas, fr. Quantus bow great, how much, akin to quam bow, E. How, who. See Who.

1. The attribute of being so much, and not more or less; the property of being measurable, or capable of increase and decrease, multiplication and division; greatness; and more concretely, that which answers the question "How much?"; measure in regard to bulk or amount; determinate or comparative dimensions; measure; amount; bulk; extent; size. Hence, in specific uses: The relative duration of a tone.

2. <mathematics> That which can be increased, diminished, or measured; especially, anything to which mathematical processes are applicable.

Quantity is discrete when it is applied to separate objects, as in number; continuous, when the parts are connected, either in succession, as in time, motion, etc, or in extension, as by the dimensions of space, viz, length, breadth, and thickness.

3. A determinate or estimated amount; a sum or bulk; a certain portion or part; sometimes, a considerable amount; a large portion, bulk, or sum; as, a medicine taken in quantities, that is, in large quantities. "The quantity of extensive and curious information which he had picked up during many months of desultory, but not unprofitable, study." (Macaulay) Quantity of estate, quantities whose values are sought.

(01 Mar 1998)