"En siffra"

Translation:A digit

December 6, 2014



Ah ha! A Swedish word with an Arabic etymology. 'Sifr' means 'zero,' but it's also apparently where we got the word 'cipher,' which loosely could mean a figure. Interesting.

April 10, 2015


The etymology tips in the comments are a great learning boost. Thanks!

August 2, 2015


There are viking runes carved into the marble at the Hagia Sophia. Maybe Halfdan went back to Sweden and told them about zero?

April 14, 2015


Haha, hmm, I like the theory, but whichever Halfdan it was, Hagia Sophia was definitely still a Greek Orthodox cathedral at the time. Although who knows all the knowledge that was shared back then and with whom. :)

April 14, 2015


A.sztuchlik@gmail.com and 4r

February 18, 2018


Sounds like russian "цифра" and means exactly "digit"

March 12, 2015


Indeed. And these cognates are traceable to the Arabic sifr (empty). https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D1%86%D0%B8%D1%84%D1%80%D0%B0

May 1, 2015


Also like Polish "cyfra" which is digit as well.

August 3, 2016


Is this like a digit figure like Spanish's cifra or like what?

December 6, 2014


It's a digit in a number, 1, 2, 3, etc.

December 6, 2014


I would also say digit is a better translation, figure seems not right

December 15, 2014


Yes, as an english speaker, I would expect a figure to mean an entire tally or a total. A figure would be "120,987" and a digit would be one of the numbers that makes up "120,987"

January 20, 2015


Well, 'siffra' could be the whole number as well as one of the digits. If someone asks you 'tänk på en siffra' ('to think of a number' = e.g. a magician doing a trick), you don't have to restrict yourself.

February 19, 2015


There is the saying "figure eight," but other than that I would generally agree.

February 2, 2015


I agree, digit would be better here. I imagine figure as a shape or a character here, not as a digit.

February 10, 2015


Its basically that , cifra is digit , so siffra is cifra.

May 6, 2019


It's like in Hebrew as well ספרה ספרות.. the digits that make up a number

May 31, 2015


Sounds kind of like chiffre too

June 11, 2015


I was about to point that out too. Looks like this word has travelled through many languages.

June 12, 2016


So, it can mean both, digit and figure?

August 20, 2015



October 30, 2015


It reminds me quite a lot 'cifra' from Portuguese, which is generally used to refer to a huge amount of money.

September 19, 2015


I assume this is strictly numeric and not a woman's figure?

November 8, 2015


Strictly numeric. It can not be used to describe shape or form.

December 20, 2015


I wondered that too...any guidance here chaps?

December 20, 2015


Could it be used in the sense of English "cypher", as in cryptography?

December 28, 2015


No, that would be chiffer.

December 28, 2015


Cipher was accepted though!

August 22, 2017


Basically, the Arabic 'sifr' meaning zero has traveled through many languages as stated above, some forms mean zero, some mean figure. Helpful etymology tip.

September 1, 2016


how would you say...'a figure of your imagination'

December 20, 2016


Probably related to the Hebrew word with the same meaning ספרה (sifra) which is derived from the root S-F-R which means: "count"

April 10, 2017


Hur olika är "siffra" och nummer?

June 16, 2017


The "correct" use (as far as I know) is:

"En siffra" (digit) is a single digit, like 7.

"Ett tal" (figure) is just any number of an infinite scope, something in math, and it can have decimals, e.g "3.14" or "3,14" if we use decimal comma which one are supposed to in Sweden, but computers have blurred that rule a bit.

"Ett nummer" (number) is one in a set of enumerated numbers, like phone number or lottery number.

In reality though, usage overlaps, and both siffra and nummer are used for any figure in some situations and/or by some people.

Also "nummer" is sometimes used for things with more than digits. For example "ett artikelnummer" (an item number/po number) can sometimes be e.g "ap1-724" with letters etc.

And I might as well include "ett belopp" (amount) that is used only for amount of money.

October 29, 2017


A cipher literally. Amazing how this Arab loan word has travelled around Europe.

February 15, 2019


My answer of "a number" was accepted, but the official translation was "a digit" . In math, however, these do not have the same meaning, so I'm at a bit of a loss...?

April 20, 2019
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