Numbers with common associations

First, I’ve got to think this has come up before, but I can’t find good enough search terms to turn it up.

Second, I’m not at all sure this is the right forum. Is it a General Question, an IMHO, a MPSIMS, a Thread Game? Apologies to the mod if it needs moving.

Okay, this morning I had to return a call to a phone number that ended in “1701” which ever and forever will be the number of the Enterprise to me, and no doubt a huge number of other Americans of my age and younger.

Which started me to thinking about how many other numbers are associated with particular meanings. Commonly, in a society, not just “that’s my birthday” type meanings. Like, there are 7 Seas, and 9 Planets, and Santa had 8 reindeer, and 42 is the meaning of life, and 50 states in the US, and 88 keys on a piano – associations like that.

Does EVERY number below 100 have a meaning? What’s the first “doesn’t mean anything” number?

Ah yes, the smallest uninteresting number.

Well, 53 was Herbie the Love Bug, but that’s nowhere nearly as ingrained as the OP’s NCC-1701 is the USS Enterprise.

Thudlow Boink nails it in 2.

Well, there’s 420.

Are you suggesting it has a meaning, or doesn’t?

If the latter, I think the answer is a lot lower. Like I can’t think of a common meaning off the top of my head for 15. Or 11.

(Sorry to the mathematicians, but I don’t find things like “well, it’s an even number” or even “it’s a prime number” a meaning in the sense I’m using the word.)

I decided I might as well try brute forcing it. Here’s what I think are “commonly associated meanings” (likely not the most common, but the ones that popped into my head first) for small numbers:

1 is the loneliest number
2 the number it takes to tango
3 blind mice
4 leaf clover
5 gooooolden riiiings
6 legs on insects
7 seas
8 Santa’s reindeers
9 planets
10 commandments
11 ?
12 is a dozen
13 is unlucky
14 days in a fortnight
15 ?
16 the ‘sweet’ age
17 magazine for girls
18 age you can vote
19 ?
20 is a score
21 age you can drink
22 common ammo caliber
23 pairs of human chromosomes
24 hours in a day
25 ?

Unless someone suggests something, I call 11 the smallest meaningless number.


The amps from Spinal Tap go to 11.

42 is the Meaning of Life as stated by the Op, but I think most Baseball fans know it as Jackie Robinson’s and Yankee fans of course know it as Mariano Rivera’s number. Each sports franchise in the US at least has fans with appreciation for their retired numbers but in all of Sports I think Jackie’s stands out the most.

NCC1701 is how I remember the Enterprise, not just the number, so oddly that doesn’t work as well for me.

There are only 8 planets in our Solar System StarvingButStrong.

As to 11, I associate it with Apollo 11, the first moon landing. Or Spinal Tap “it goes up to 11”.

15 is the age to get your learner’s permit for driving.

I was going to mention Spinal Tap for 11.

Okaaaaay, then. 9 = the Muses. Unless they demoted Mnemosyne when I wasn’t looking…

And I guess I have to bow to 11 for the Spinal Tap association. And a friend pointed out that 15 = the age for Quinceañera.

I don’t know about the 19 reference Peter Morris came up with – did it come to mind for anyone else?

If so, 25 is currently holding the title.

For 19, I thought of Steely Dan’s Hey Nineteen.

25 is the number of cents in a quarter.

Muses sound good. Also the 9 Black Riders opposed to the 9 walkers in The Lord of the Rings.

I have no 19 association and still not sure what Peter’s was, that link was not very informative.

For 25 all I have is baseball related. Various players and the size of the regular season squad until September 1st.

15 is an important birthday in Latin American culture


My first thought for 19 was also Steely Dan.

I immediately thought of 99, for Wayne Gretzky

The first thing I thought of for 15 is the number of (numbered) pool balls.

It’s a song, that some of us associate with the number.

19 has significance in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.

25 = the number of squares on a Bingo card.

So, the search for the Meaningless number goes on. :slight_smile:

Next chunk, with what I could come up with:

26 letters in the alphabet
27 amendments to the US constitution
28 days in a woman’s menstrual cycle (supposedly)
29 B-29 bomber
30 mark for the end of a reporter’s story
31 days in a month (maximum)
32 temperature water freezes at
33 (+1/3) record albums when I was a teenager --that might be cheating.
34 Internet porn rule
35 age to be elected president
36 inches in a yard
37 ?
38 another gun number
39 Jack Benny’s eternal age
40 age when life begins
41 ?
42 meaning of life
43 ?
44 Vicks 44 cough syrup
45 Trump’s presidency or Colt 45
46 ?
47 ?
48 Hours (movie/tv news mag)
49 California gold rush
50 states in the U.S.A.

Yes, that comes immediately to mind, especially since Walter Becker’s death the other day.

It’s a song that was a pretty big hit in 1985. Although maybe not so much in America.