16 (sixteen) is the natural number following 15 and preceding 17. 16 is a composite number, and a square number, being 42 = 4 × 4. It is the smallest number with exactly five divisors, its proper divisors being 1, 2, 4 and 8.

← 15 16 17 →
Numeral systemhexadecimal
Divisors1, 2, 4, 8, 16
Greek numeralΙϚ´
Roman numeralXVI
Hebrewט"ז (Tet Zayin)

In English speech, the numbers 16 and 60 are sometimes confused, as they sound very similar.

Sixteen is the fourth power of two. For this reason, 16 was used in weighing light objects in several cultures. The British have 16 ounces in one pound; the Chinese used to have 16 liangs in one jin. In old days[vague], weighing was done with a beam balance to make equal splits. It would be easier to split a heap of grains into sixteen equal parts through successive divisions than to split into ten parts. Chinese Taoists did finger computation on the trigrams and hexagrams by counting the finger tips and joints of the fingers with the tip of the thumb. Each hand can count up to 16 in such manner. The Chinese abacus uses two upper beads to represent the 5s and 5 lower beads to represent the 1s, the 7 beads can represent a hexadecimal digit from 0 to 15 in each column.


  • Sixteen is an even number and the square of four.
  • Sixteen is the fourth power of two.
  • Sixteen is the only integer that equals mn and nm, for some unequal integers m and n ( ,  , or vice versa).[1] It has this property because  . It is also equal to 32 (see tetration).
  • Sixteen is the base of the hexadecimal number system, which is used extensively in computer science.
  • Sixteen is the largest known integer n, for which   is prime.
  • It is the first Erdős–Woods number.[2]
  • There are 16 partially ordered sets with four unlabeled elements.[3]


In technologyEdit



  • Saint Markandeya is said to have been granted to live to 16 years of age. When he turned sixteen, the god of death, Yama, came to look for him and fastened a noose around the saint. The saint hugged the idol of lord Shiva that he worshipped (which can be still found in the Amritaghateswarar-Abirami Temple in Thirukkadaiyur, Tamil Nadu, India.) As the noose was wrapped around both the saint and lord Shiva, this made the lord angry and he appeared in his fierce form and vanquished the lord of death, causing a brief catastrophe in the world where no one died. Eventually, lord Yama was revived and the saint Markandeya was made immortal to be of age sixteen forever.



In Spanish and Portuguese, 16 is the first compound number (Spanish: dieciséis, European Portuguese: dezasseis, Brazilian Portuguese: dezesseis); the numbers 11 (Spanish: once, Portuguese: onze) through 15 (Spanish: quince, Portuguese: quinze) have their own names.

Age 16Edit

  • Sixteen is the minimum age for being allowed an official beginner's driver's license with parental consent in many U.S. states and in Canada. In Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, and the Isle of Man, it is the age one can begin to get a learner's license.
  • A "sweet sixteen" is celebrated by many sixteen-year-old girls in the United States. It is a coming of age celebration that traditionally marks a girl's transition into womanhood.
  • 16 is the minimum age that one can leave school in many states of the United States and Canada (however, restrictions apply and vary depending on state or province).[4]
  • In the United States, sixteen-year-old girls earn the right to privacy laws surrounding OBGYN practices
  • In the United States and Canada, 16 is the most common age of sexual consent, as well as the age in the United Kingdom.[5][6]
  • Sixteen is the minimum age to get married with parental consent in many countries, and without parental consent in Scotland.
  • Sixteen is the legal drinking age in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and Portugal.
  • Minimum age at which one can buy, rent, purchase, buy tickets to, or view a 16+ rated film in the Canadian province of Quebec. It is also the minimum age at which one can accompany a minor under-13 while buying, renting, or purchasing tickets to a 13+ rated movie in the province of Quebec.
  • Minimum age at which one can donate blood (with parental consent) in many U.S. states
  • Minimum age at which one can obtain an adult passport (which lasts ten years) in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.
  • Minimum age at which one can join the Armed Forces in the United Kingdom.
  • Sixteen is the voting age in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, the Isle of Man, and Nicaragua.
  • Sixteen is the age of majority in Cambodia, Cuba, Kyrgyzstan, and Vietnam.

In sportsEdit

Many leagues and tournaments have 16 teams or individual participants, for example:

In both the NBA and NHL, 16 teams qualify for the respective league playoffs; it is also the number of wins needed to win the title (both leagues have four playoff rounds, with four wins in seven games needed to win each round).

In AFL Women's, the top-level league of women's Australian rules football, each team has 16 players on the field at any given time (as opposed to the 18 of almost all other competitions in the sport, most notably the parent Australian Football League for men).

In other fieldsEdit

  • 16 steps make up the average bar of music in a 4/4 musical arrangement. The Roland TR-808, for instance, has 16 buttons that light up representing 16 16th notes making up a drum pattern.
  • Sixteen, Kentucky, a community in the United States
  • King of France (August 1754 – 21 January 1793) Louis XVI of France
  • There are 16 ounces in an avoirdupois pound
  • There are 16 pawns in a chess set and each player in a chess game starts with sixteen pieces
Sixteen frames of images


  1. ^ David Wells (1987). The Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Numbers. Penguin Books. p. 93.
  2. ^ "Sloane's A059756 : Erdős–Woods numbers". The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences. OEIS Foundation. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  3. ^ Sloane, N. J. A. (ed.). "Sequence A000112 (Number of partially ordered sets (posets) with n unlabeled elements)". The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences. OEIS Foundation.
  4. ^ Mikulecky, Marga (April 2013). "Compulsory School Age Requirements" (PDF). Education Commission of the States. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Age of Consent By State". Archived from the original on 17 April 2011.
  6. ^ "Age of consent for sexual intercourse".
  7. ^ ArtsEdge, The Kennedy Center. "ARTSEDGE: The Poetics of Hip-Hop". artsedge.kennedy-center.org. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Le "16" | Chancellerie du Premier Ministre". Archived from the original on 4 July 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2015.

External linksEdit