Interesting Facts About the Numbers One to Five

Origins and facts about the numbers one to five.


The ancient Greeks did not consider 1 to be a number, since Euclid had defined a numbers as “aggregate units”.  So one is not a number, but the mother unit of all other numbers.

Comes from the Latin unus, which meant both female and male and thus the number from which all other numbers sprang.

In religion, one represents God and in numerology, the sun.

Other facts: 

  • Number of butler schools in the US
  • Public telephones in Kabul
  • Years’ in a cotton wedding anniversary.


The Greeks weren’t quite happy with two as a number either.  Although it was very useful for multiplying.  They didn’t like it because it had a beginning and end, but no middle. 

In religion, two is a number of divinity and the number of creation.
In linguistics, two is represented as bi (Latin) and di, (Greek).  However, some words get their origins muddled up; bicycle, (Latin two, Greek wheels) and bigamy, (Latin two, Greek marriage).  So these should be dicycle and digamy.

Other facts: 

  • Places on earth called “Hell”.  One in Norway, the other in the Caymen islands
  • Wrongs that make a right
  • Years’ marriage for paper anniversary.


The first number that the Greeks agreed on.  Aristotle said it was the first number that the term “all” could be applied, for it has a beginning, middle, and end.
Good things come in threes: gold, silver, bronze medals, liquid, solid, gas states, father, son, holy ghost, proton, electron, neutron, etc, etc
In linguistics it is tri, (Latin and Greek).

Other facts: 

  • Baths taken by Louis XIV in his lifetime
  • Highest number in the Yancos tribe in the Amazon 
  • Years’ marriage for a leather anniversary


The only number in the English language equal to the number of letters it has.
The Greeks attributed it to the elements, (fire, earth, air, water).  The Humors that balance health, (blood, black bile, yellow bile, phlegm), 4 points of a compass, (north, south, east, west).
In 1995 in Taipei, citizens were allowed to remove ‘4’ from street numbers because it sounded like ‘death’ in Chinese.  Many Chinese hospitals do not have a 4th floor
In linguistics it is quadr, (Latin) or tetra (Greek)

Other facts: 

  • Dimensions in Einstein’s space time continuum
  • Months an oyster can survive out of water
  • Years marriage for Iron, (some say fruit/flowers) anniversary.


Five is an odd one, both numerically, but because we have five fingers, five toes, five senses, a star fish has 5 legs, and flowers usually have 5 petals, but true 5 fold symmetry does not occur regularly in nature.

Our number system is based on units of ten because this is what we could count to using our fingers, but theoretically 5 would be a better base to leave the other hand free, however, the only language to use 5 as a counting system is Saraveca, a language of South America.

Linguistically penta, (Greek) or quin, (Latin).

Other facts: 

  • Baseball gloves that can be made from one cow
  • Pints capacity of a dog’s stomach
  • Years’ marriage for a wood anniversary
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