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Arabic numerals

Arabic numerals, in common usage, means representation of the digits of the decimal system by the signs 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9. Maybe the right order is 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0, because the zero was the last created number (See http://www.geocities.com/rmlyra/Numbers.html )

The name, however, is imprecise, for two reasons. First, these digits themselves were borrowed by the Europeans from the Arabs only shortly after the Arabs themselves copied them from the Indians. And secondly, the European digit shapes have changed much from their Arabic originals. Therefore, "Arabic-Indian" better describes the source of the numerals, while "European" better describes the area of their real-world usage. In Arabic usage, the digits (which are called "Indian numerals") have changed less.

In 1202, Fibonacci introduced the decimal system and Arabic numerals to Europe and promoted them with his book Liber Abaci.

In Japan, where the western numerals and alphabet are widely used, the arabic numerals are known as "romanji". Confusingly enough, this translates roughly as "Roman numerals" which conventionally has another meaning altogether.

Using Arabic-Indic digits, numbers are written with the most significant digit on the left, just like it is with European digits.

See also: Numeral system, Armenian numerals, Babylonian numerals, Chinese numerals, Greek numerals, Hebrew numerals, Indian numerals, Mayan numerals, Roman numerals, Thai numerals.