Everyone knows that dial - written sign, depicting the number. However, this value was fixed for the word only in the last century.
The word "digit" is borrowed from the Arabic language. Arabic "sifr" means an empty space. To the Arabs this word comes from the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, where he had the same meaning. It was designated a circle with a dot inside.
This meaning of the word "digit" is kept in the eighteenth century, although already known since the XV century Latin term "zero" (nothing).
Since the mid-EIGHTEENTH century the word figure has taken on a new meaning - the sign of the number.
The aggregate figures in the Russian language was called zifiri. Children learning account, said: teach zifiri, write zifiri. Under Peter the great in Russia opened ciferni school - primary state secondary schools for boys. In them, among other disciplines, children were taught tiferno science - arithmetic.
Today in everyday speech often substitutes the word figure (unit of account, expressing the number) and the number (meaning the number). For example, large quantities we say or astronomical number, or an astronomical figure.
Where did the numbers?