Uneven / Odd?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Nimls, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. Nimls Junior Member

    Hi everyone!

    My English teacher told us there was an uneven number of members in the house of the representatives, and then explained us that this word means a number that is not even and that follow the sequence 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, etc...

    I never heard that before, in fact, I used to say "odd" in order to speak about such numbers, so that's why I'm asking you.

    Is the word uneven frequently used? Is it britanic English, old, or used in order to count persons?
    Finally, is there any differences between those two words - uneven and odd?

    I'm a little bit puzzled right now, so, thanks for answering.
  2. Memories Junior Member

    Your intuitions were correct. Numbers are either "even" or "odd." The word "uneven" means, briefly, "not level, not smooth, not equal," etc.
  3. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    I may be misunderstanding your question, so forgive me if I tell you something you already know. An "even" number is simply one that is evenly divisible by two (2, 4, 10, 144, 1008, etc.) Odd numbers can't be divided by two (3, 7, 9, 93, etc.) That's all there is to it. And yes, it's very common to talk about numbers in this way. But it is odd to talk about "uneven" numbers.
  4. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hi Nimls

    I would call 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 ... "odd" numbers myself; I don't think I've heard "uneven" in this context, though it works for 'not even' in other contexts.

    EDIT: doubly-cross-posted:)
  5. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    British English
    Your English teacher does not lie, but fails to mention that this is an unusual use of uneven in modern English. In the British National Corpus "odd number" is just over 10 times as common as "uneven number". The Google ngram for uneven number,odd number gives a similar result.
    It does, but it also means "odd" - from the OED
    For example
  6. Nimls Junior Member

    Thank you for your quick answers!

    Okay, so I'll know odd is more frequent than uneven. Also that's some meanings for uneven I did'nt know.
    That makes sense know.

    Thanks again :)

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