1. A large and indeterminate number of objects: “There were
`N` bugs in that crock!” Also used in
its original sense of a variable name: “This crock has
`N` bugs, as
`N` goes to infinity.” (The true
number of bugs is always at least `N + 1`;
see *Lubarsky's Law of Cybernetic Entomology*.)

2. A variable whose value is inherited from the current context.
For example, when a meal is being ordered at a restaurant,
`N` may be understood to mean however many
people there are at the table. From the remark “We'd like to order
`N` wonton soups and a family dinner for
`N - 1`” you can deduce that one
person at the table wants to eat only soup, even though you don't know how
many people there are (see *great-wall*).

3. `Nth`: adj. The ordinal counterpart of
`N`, senses 1 and 2.

4. “Now for the `N`th and last
time...” In the specific context
“`N`th-year grad student”,
`N` is generally assumed to be at least 4,
and is usually 5 or more (see
*tenured graduate student*). See also *random numbers*,
*two-to-the-N*.