A number having ore than two factors.
6 is a composite number, since its factors are 1, 2, 3, and 6.
A composite number is a counting number that can be composed by multiplying smaller counting numbers.
Building numbers from smaller building blocks: Any counting number, other than 1, can be formed as the sum of two or more smaller counting numbers, but only some counting numbers can be composed as the product of two or more smaller counting numbers. We can build 36 from 9 and 4 by multiplying; or we can build it from 6 and 6; or from 18 and 2; or even by multiplying 2 x 2 x 3 x 3, so we say that 36 is composite. Numbers that can't be composed by multiplying smaller building blocks -- for example, 2 and 17 -- are called prime numbers.
Related mathematical ideas
- prime number