The numero sign or numero symbol, № (also represented as Nº, No, No. or no., plural Nos. or nos.), is a typographic abbreviation of the word number(s) indicating ordinal numeration, especially in names and titles. For example, with the numero sign, the written long-form of the address "Number 22 Acacia Avenue" is shortened to "№ 22 Acacia Avenue", yet both forms are spoken long.
Typographically, the numero sign combines the upper-case Latin letter N with a usually superscript lower-case letter o, sometimes underlined, resembling the masculine ordinal indicator. In Unicode, the character is U+2116 № NUMERO SIGN (HTML
The Oxford English Dictionary derives the numero sign from Latin numero, the ablative form of numerus ("number", with the ablative denotations of: "by the number, with the number"). In Romance languages, the numero sign is understood as an abbreviation of the word for "number", e.g. Italian numero, French numéro, and Catalan, Galician, Portuguese and Spanish número.
The numero sign, despite its widespread usage internationally, is not a standard alphabetic symbol in virtually any European language.
In English, the abbreviation "No." of "numero" is often used in place of the word "number". In American English the hash # is used as a prefix to designate numbers, and at the end of a number to designate pounds in some publications. In online usage, the hash may cause complications because of its usage for hashtags and HTML anchors, a complication not present with the numero sign (thus the numero sign can be used in places the hash cannot).
The numero symbol is not in common use in France and does not appear on a standard AZERTY keyboard. Instead, the French Imprimerie nationale recommends the use of the form "no" (an "n" followed by a superscript lowercase "o"). The plural form "nos" can also be used. In practice, the "o" is often replaced by the degree symbol (°), which is visually similar to the superscript "o" and is easily accessible on an AZERTY keyboard.
The numero sign is not typically used in Spanish, and it is not present on standard keyboard layouts. According to the Real Academia Española and the Fundéu BBVA, the word número (number) is abbreviated per the Spanish typographic convention of letras voladas ("flying letters"). The first letter(s) of the word to be abbreviated are followed by a period; then, the final letter(s) of the word are written as lower-case superscripts. This gives the abbreviations n.o (singular) and n.os (plural). The abbreviation "no." is not used, because it might be mistaken for the Spanish word no (no). Furthermore, nro. and núm. are also acceptable abbreviations for número.
Portuguese orthographic rules don't allow the usage of №, because, as it is an abbreviation, it is necessary to place a period before the superscript O: n.o ( plural, n.os. The superscript letters can also be underlined, though this usage is optional and less frequent. A common mistake is to write 'no' or 'no.'. Another reason why № is not acceptable is that the abbreviation for número is normally not used in a context which requires the capital N (i.e. a title, the beginning of a sentence), and so the abbreviation should be able to be written in lowercase. Furthermore, 'no.' is unacceptable as an abbreviation because it might be confused with no (a contraction of em (in) and o (the), the masculine singular definite article). Another acceptable abbreviation for número is núm..
The sign is usually replaced with the abbreviations "n." or "nº", the latter using an ordinal indicator, rather than a superscript 'O'. Similar superscript is also used for primo 1º and prima 1ª, secondo 2º and seconda 2ª, terzo 3º and terza 3ª, etc.
PC keyboard with Russian layout.
№ sign can be seen on the ‘3’ key.
Because of more than 300 years of Spanish colonisation, the word 'numero' is part of almost all of the languages in the Philippines. 'No.' is common in both English and local languages' written forms.
Indonesian and Malaysian
In Lithuanian the abbreviation Nr. is used instead. It is usually capitalised in bureaucratic contexts, especially with the meaning 'reference number' (such as sutarties Nr., 'contract No.') but in other contexts it follows the usual sentence capitalisation (such as tel. nr., abbreviation for telefono numeris, 'telephone number').
Typing the symbol
On typewriters and computers that do not support this symbol, it is acceptable and commonplace to replace it with the trigraph "No." (letter "N", letter "o", and a period (full stop)).
On typewriters and computers that support the degree symbol or (preferably) masculine ordinal indicator, a digraph starting with "N", such as "N°" or "Nº", may suffice as a substitute for the numero sign, but only if it is to be presented exclusively within visual media, in a typeface and sizing that results in a passable approximation of the numero sign. Such digraphs are inappropriate for representing the numero sign in computer data, in general.
On Russian computer keyboard layout, the № is available and often located on the 3 key.
In Mac OS X, the character can be typed using "U.S. Extended" and "Irish Extended" keyboard layouts by typing ⇧ Shift+⌥ Option+;.
In HTML, the numero sign (if it cannot be entered directly) may be represented by
U+2116 NUMERO SIGN is provided both for Cyrillic use, where it looks like [semi-cursive "N" followed by raised, underlined small "o"], and for compatibility with Asian standards, where it looks like [angular "N" followed by raised, underlined small "o", followed by a period]. …Instead of using a special symbol, French practice is to use an "N" or an "n", according to context, followed by a superscript small letter "o" (No or no; plural Nos or nos). Legacy data encoded in ISO/IEC 8859-1 (Latin-1) or other 8-bit character sets may also have represented the numero sign by a sequence of "N" followed by the degree sign (U+00B0 degree sign). Implementations working with legacy data should be aware of such alternative representations for the numero sign when converting data.
- "no. or No.". The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language. Houghton Mifflin Company. 2009. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
- "nos. or Nos.". The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language. Houghton Mifflin Company. 2009. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
- "№ - Numero Sign (U+2116) symbol, character, icon, html: № - Letterlike Symbols - Unicode character table". unicode-table.com.
- "Oxford Dictionaries - Dictionary, Thesaurus, & Grammar". askoxford.com.
- Machinery's Handbook 21st Ed
- Lexique des règles typographiques en usage à l’Imprimerie nationale (in French). Imprimerie nationale. 2002. ISBN 978-2-7433-0482-9.
- "Abreviaturas". Real Academia Española. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
- "número, abreviatura". Fundéu BBVA. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
- "La corrispondenza italiana: abbreviazioni". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
- "The Unicode Standard 5.0 — 15.2 Letterlike Symbols" (PDF). The Unicode Consortium. 2007. Retrieved 2009-09-11..