One interpretation for a power of natural numbers, such as , is that it is counting a certain collection of functions: in this case, the number of functions from a six-element set to a ten-element set. (One way to think about it is that is the number of six-digit combinations from 000000 to 999999, and each combination corresponds to a function from to : the first digit is the image of , the second digit is the image of , etc.)

In general, the number is the number of functions from an -element set to a -element set. This is somewhat analogous to standard interpretations of other arithmetical operations: